Since in-person instruction ended so abruptly for your eighth grader this year thanks to a global pandemic, you may be wondering if your child learned the skills they’ll need to be ready for high school. Here are some of the key academic skills that kids acquire in eighth grade. If your child hasn’t learned or mastered some of them, don’t worry. The important thing is that your child makes progress toward mastery. Choose a few areas to focus on this summer, but keep things low-key — both for you and for your child! It’s more important that at-home learning be an experience that encourages your child to enjoy tackling challenges. And in these unusual times, extra pressure isn’t good for anyone.
By the end of 8th grade, kids should be able to:
- Be comfortable discussing plot, theme, and characters in fiction.
- Analyze arguments in nonfiction texts to determine if they are logical, relevant, and supported with sufficient evidence.
- Be able to identify evidence and make inferences from the evidence presented. (Read more about making inferences.)
- Understand and use academic vocabulary words (see word lists for 7th grade, 8th grade, and 9th grade).
- Understand that writing involves several steps: planning, revising, giving and receiving feedback respectfully, editing, rewriting and, sometimes, trying a new approach.
- Show increasing sophistication in their narrative, informative, and opinion writing (read more about 8th grade writing).
- Understand how to paraphrase and quote information — and cite the source — to avoid plagiarism.
- Type accurately at about 40 words per minute or faster.
- Give oral presentations of their research and writing in which they present their main ideas to their classmates aloud, using formal language, clear pronunciation, and at a volume loud enough for everyone in the class to hear.
- Be comfortable collaborating and working in online platforms such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
- Understand irrational numbers and be able to compare them to rational numbers.
- Find the volume of three-dimensional shapes, including cones, spheres, and cylinders.
- Find square roots and their opposite, exponents.
- Use linear equations to explain relationships between two variables, and create graphs or diagrams to illustrate those relationships.
- Analyze data using charts and graphs and be able to explain the patterns in the data.