Literature and Composition 8/9

(1 customer review)

From: $85.00 / month for 8 months

Prerequisite:  Literature and Composition 7/8 or equivalent

Grades:  8th–9th

Class (Section 1):  Tue 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET

Class (Section 2):  Wed 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET

Level:  Regular or Honors

Dates:  Aug 26, 2024–May 9, 2025

Prepaid:  $599 (R) $649 (H)

Instructor:  Natania Cook

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Course Description

View Course Syllabus

View Course Calendar

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”—John Locke

In this foundational high school English course, students learn how to deeply, analytically, personally, and imaginatively think about and respond to literature. Students discover connections between literature and the world beyond their virtual classroom. Designed to develop the basic skills of students as mature readers and writers through the analysis of complex texts in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, this course thoroughly prepares students to tackle the rigors of college-preparatory coursework in grades 10-12.

Students explore a variety of writing discourses, including persuasive, compare/contrast, and narrative essays, as well as research-based reports and projects. Because of the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking, students simultaneously strengthen and perfect all of those skills throughout the course. Special emphasis, however, is placed upon effective composition, analytical response to literature, collaboration, discussion, and vocabulary development.

Six books are required for this course and should be purchased in advance and brought to class as needed. Internet links to short stories, poetry, articles, and speeches are provided by the teacher. Because an important component of this class is learning to provide textual evidence when writing about or discussing literature, it is helpful for all students to acquire the same editions of each book. It is important for the students to be “on the same page,” so please refer to the ISBN numbers in the Required Texts tab above when ordering.

Basic Supplies

  • a 2-inch, three-ring binder
  • set of dividers, preferably with pockets (5-6)
  • lined notebook paper for binder
  • a composition notebook or spiral for journaling (unless a digital option is preferred)
  • highlighters–yellow, green, blue, pink, orange
  • Post-It Notes (various sizes, shapes, colors–yellow, green, blue, pink, orange)
  • pens and pencils, erasers
  • colored pencils, thin markers
  • white, unlined copy paper (stored in course binder)

Course Structure

Weekly homework includes vocabulary, grammar, reading, and writing assignments. Each week, students read while annotating assigned novels, short stories, poems, or articles. They are also asked to respond to the literature through various methods, including thought-provoking questions, story summary charts, essay writing, group assignments, online discussion boards, journaling, oral reports, and projects.

Honors Level

For students who desire more of a challenge or wish to pursue a more in-depth study and analysis of literature, an honors level for this course is offered. Students participating in the honors level have the option to complete additional thought-provoking, creative, and analytical writing assignments and projects. Please see the course calendar for a list of honors level assignments.

Who should enroll?

This class is designed for 9th graders and advanced 8th graders. A high school English credit will be awarded to 9th grade students upon passing this course. Students who have taken Literature and Composition 7/8 will be well prepared.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Webcam, headset, and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are extremely helpful. If using a different word processing program, the documents should be saved or exported as a pdf in order to submit it on Canvas.

Evaluation and Feedback

Asking students to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter is an integral part of the learning process. Periodic vocabulary and grammar quizzes are assigned. Comprehension of literature is assessed formally and informally through live class and online discussion and through written responses such as journal entries, multi-paragraph essays, graphic organizers, and exams. Students are also asked to demonstrate mastery and application of course material by completing special, creative projects and oral presentations.

Providing consistent feedback is imperative for student growth and success especially with writing. For this reason, I provide a detailed critique of each major writing assignment as well as general comments on all other assignments. In addition, I schedule individual writing conferences as needed where students and I meet one-on-one to address their specific writing needs.


Communication is an essential component of any educational endeavor. With that in mind, I encourage all of my students to contact me whenever they need assistance with an assignment, and I make it a priority to promptly respond to student inquiries. I also send a weekly “wrap-up” announcements outlining the learning objectives accomplished in class as well as reminders about upcoming assignments.

Beyond email correspondence, I have set aside an additional hour each week to assist students with writing, grammar, and literary skills. To participate in this extra learning opportunity, students need to register separately. See Language Arts Lab 8/9/10 for details and to register.

Parental inquiries are welcomed and encouraged as parental involvement is essential to student success. To best serve parents, I have established “office hours” on Friday mornings from 9:00–11:00 AM (ET) for responding to emails and phone calls. In addition, I am available for requested individual writing conferences periodically throughout the year where students and I meet one-on-one to address their specific writing needs. I consider it a great privilege to be able to walk alongside parents and assist them in educating their children.

Required Texts


  • Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, ISBN 10: 0743477111
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck, ISBN 10: 014017737X
  • The Odyssey by Homer, translation by Robert Fagles, ISBN 978-0140268867
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, ISBN 10: 1420952226
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, ISBN 10 : 0451527623
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, ISBN 10: 9780811214049

Each quarter, honors students will choose a contemporary novel to read on their own. For the first three quarters, students will schedule a “Book Talk” in which they discuss their chosen book one-on-one with Mrs. Cook. For the final quarter, all students will choose a book to read and critique in essay format. Teacher approval for all books is required.

1 review for Literature and Composition 8/9

  1. DeLise Bernard (verified owner)

    I can’t say enough about this class and Natania Cook. Even though she was a new teacher, evidently she made a great impression on a friend who also teaches at AIM. She described how impressed she was after meeting Ms. Cook and highly recommended her class. It was the best decision EVER!

    Dialectic journals, literary analyses, thoughtful compare/contrast analyses of books vs. movies, as well as the basics of grammar, mechanics, vocabulary are just a few of the concepts they have covered! From writing dactylic hexameter poetry to reciting scenes from Romeo and Juliet, to creating a first person account travel scrapbook of the Odyssey, the creativity of her assignments was impressive. The diversity of her literature and sources is also to be commended. She effortlessly exposed them to The Pearl and HG Wells as well as Dead Poets Society and The Interlopers. I was impressed with the breadth of ideas and concepts in which she exposed the students.

    I also loved that she did not give “busy work”. For example, instead of asking for book reports, she had “book talks” where she and the student discussed the book! As someone who is a part of 2 book clubs, I love this idea so much better than the busy work of a bland book report!

    Her organization is IMPECCABLE! I’ve never encountered a more organized Canvas with daily assignments and detailed instructions. Her weekly wrap up emails are extremely thorough. Not only are they a great review of what was covered for the student, but they give the parent an understanding of the students are covering each week. This is helpful in general but especially as a homeschooler for documentation.

    I would HIGHLY recommend ANY class by Natania Cook!

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Instructor Bio

Natania Cook

Prior to becoming a homeschool mother of four, Natania’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge led her to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Texas Woman’s University and a BS degree in Education with a specialization in English from Baylor University. She is certified to teach English and English as a Second Language in grades 1-12 and Reading for grades 6-12. With over twenty years of teaching experience, Natania has served in both public and private school settings as well as in various homeschool forums where she has taught multiple grade levels and ages. Contact: ncook[at]


All classes taught by Natania Cook