6th Grade English

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Course Summary

What are the major themes in the course?

In sixth-grade English, students examine the role of the hero across different cultures and times periods. Starting with myths from ancient Greece, students explore the brave warriors who slayed monsters to prove themselves to the gods. As the year goes on, they read about a variety of heroes who empower others by speaking out, writing, boycotting and acting on their beliefs in communities devastated by war, poverty, and segregation. From communist China to the Jim Crow South, sixth graders will emerge from this course with a strong sense of the opportunities an individual has to stand up against society.

What is the major focus for reading instruction?

In sixth grade, students will focus more on author’s craft than in previous years by analyzing the literary moves the author makes to enhance the plot and convey a theme. They will look closely at devices (such as dialogue, inner thoughts, and imagery) employed to create mood or reveal a perspective. Importantly, students will equip themselves with strategies to identify the meaning of unknown words by looking for contextual clues, Latin roots, and word charge. In addition, students will continue to build their stamina for rigorous texts, their annotation skills, and their acquisition of advanced vocabulary. 

Why we chose these texts?

  • The Lightning Thief and D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths: Students examine the literary devices used to depict character motivation while looking closely at the recurring role of hubris in Greek mythology.  Students explore the stages of a hero’s journey as a common plot structure across literature.
  • Poetry: Students look at the impact of figurative language on the speaker’s tone. This is also the first unit where theme is introduced in the course. Students will trace multiple themes throughout the poems they read about personal heroes.
  • The House on Mango Street: Students focus on how the author uses imagery in her vignettes to reveal the narrator’s perspective. They examine how a young Chicana girl uses her writing to empower herself and others in a predominantly patriarchal community. 
  • Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry: Students examine how the vivid descriptions of setting in this novel help create the mood. They learn about the African-American heroes who stood up for their rights through peaceful boycotts during a time of profound racism in Mississippi in the 1930s.
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham: Students study the moves the author makes to appeal to a young reader such as humor, colloquial dialogue, and point of view. This unit also pushes students to understand point of view through a young unreliable narrator. Students explore the ways an African-American boy can empower himself and his family despite prejudice and violence during the civil rights movement.
  • Red Scarf Girl: Students study the power of a memoir. They compare the advantages and disadvantages of fiction and nonfiction as they read Ji-Li’s heroic tale of resilience when her home and family are taken away from her. 
  • The Giver: Students examine the straightforward writing style of this dystopic novel. They explore the ways Jonas fights for his belief in what is fair and right despite social pressure to conform.

Course Map

Unit 1 28 Lessons

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan & Greek Mythology

Unit 2 17 Lessons


Unit 3 Coming 12/17

The House on Mango Street

Unit 4 Coming 1/18

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry

Unit 5 Coming 3/18

The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Unit 6 Coming 4/18

Red Scarf Girl

Unit 7 Coming 5/18

The Giver

How to Use This Course


English Language Arts at Match

At Match Education we have ambitious goals for our ELA program. Through our teaching, we strive to transform our scholars into critical readers, writers, and thinkers, and we seek to widen our students’ perspectives and deepen their character so that they can better understand themselves and the world around them.

Our ELA curriculum is designed around several core beliefs about how students learn best. These beliefs drive the decisions we make about what to teach and how to teach it.

  1. Text First vs. Skills First: We believe in the power of rich and nuanced texts to spark students’ thinking.

  2. Content Selection: We believe selected texts must both affirm our scholars’ cultures and expose them to great literature.

  3. Writing Instruction: We believe writing instruction should teach scholars to construct and convey persuasive arguments, and express their own voices.

  4. Discussion: We believe discussion is a powerful tool for testing ideas out and strengthening thinking.

  5. Word Knowledge: We believe in the importance of building word knowledge through both explicit instruction and exposure to content knowledge.

  6. Lifelong Learning: We believe that teachers should cultivate voracious, inquisitive readers, writers, and thinkers.

For more information, view our full English Language Arts Program Overview.