Students read to enhance their understanding of different genres and to enhance their own writing. Students practice the writing process in each part of the course as they plan, organize, compose, and edit four projects: a brief narrative essay about a personal hero, a piece of creative fiction, an essay analyzing a poem, and a research project. As they read the coming-of-age novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, students focus on the elements of fiction and examine elements of the author’s craft. In a tour of folktales, students embark on a journey to South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as ancient Greece and Rome. Students are introduced to several types of poetry, learn to recognize poetic devices, evaluate the effectiveness of a poet’s message, and, ultimately, compose their own poetry. As they explore nonfiction and informational texts, students build on concepts they learned in the elementary grades to develop higher-level critical thinking skills. A study of advertising and persuasive techniques helps students become more informed consumers. Students strengthen speaking and listening skills through predicting, questioning, summarizing, clarifying, and synthesizing. Students learn to work collaboratively, incorporate multimedia in their presentations, and present their findings in unique, effective ways.