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Grades 6-8

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Grounded in learning science, proven instructional strategies break down learning barriers and support academic growth.

  • Connect students to a diverse world of reading and writing.
  • Enable deep understanding, critical thinking, and effective communication.
  • Empower academic growth and remove learning barriers. 

Connections: Literature supports learners as they engage in the study of dynamic, relevant texts and brings the richness of diverse voices to students through literature. 

Almitra L. Berry is a nationally recognized motivational speaker, author, and consultant on the topic of culturally and linguistically diverse learners in America’s K–12 education system. Her works and research focus on equity and academic achievement for marginalized learners—particularly in majority-of-color, low-wealth, large, urban school districts. Dr. Berry is host of the podcast Educational Equity Emancipation and author of the book Effecting Change for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners as well as numerousother articles addressing educational equity. A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Dr. Berry has worked with leaders and school systems throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. She has presented at scores of state, national, and international conferences on equity, leadership, curriculum reform, and meeting the needs of historically underserved and disenfranchised learners. She calls upon educators and educational leaders to evaluate policy, curriculum, instruction, supervision, and professional learning with a lens focused on equity. 

Almitra L. Berry, Ed.D. 

Laura Kebart, M.Ed. 

Laura Kebart leverages her 20 years of classroom teaching and instructional coaching experience to serve busy middle school English Language Arts teachers. Laura’s passion lies in the intersection of crafting rich, relevant, and accessible learning experiences for students and ensuring user-friendly methods of lesson planning and delivery for teachers in the trenches. By providing educational consulting, online workshops, and annual virtual conferences,
Laura helps educators across the country teach with confidence while increasing student engagement. Laura is the author of The Sick Teacher ebook: When You’re Too Sick to Teach, but Not Sick Enough to Stay Home and is currently working on two more books for middle school ELA teachers. 

Meet our Program Consultants 

Assessment &

Program-Level Comprehensive

• Diagnostic Pretest
• Mid-Year
• End-of-Course

Unit-Level Summative Assessments  

Selection Exit Tickets—
Reading and Lesson

Program Components

Connect Worlds, Empower Minds. 

Whether you teach with all print, all digital, or blended print and digital, Connections: Literature has you covered.

Teacher Resources 

Teacher Edition 

Lesson-Level Lesson Planner 

• Editable lesson plans

Lesson-Level Resource Collections 

• Comprehension Check
• Vocabulary Check 

Lesson PowerPoint Presentations

Other Lesson Resources  

Write Graphic Organizers
• Write Model Essays
• Writing Focus Graphic Organizers
• Literary Lens Graphic Organizers
• Answer Keys 


Student Edition

Additional unit-level reading


• Emergent Bilingual Resource

• Challenge and Extension

  Teaching Support 

Strategic Support 

Emergent Bilingual Support

Downloadable / Printable





Engaging Unit Themes & Essential Questions
Make connections across selections within the unit. 

Digital Reading Resources on Perfection Next Additional nonfiction and literary texts for further exploration of the Essential Question and unit theme are available online.  

Relevant Texts Students see themselves reflected
in the diverse characters and relatable situations. 

Students engage with high-quality, complex texts that give them opportunities to gain knowledge, broaden their perspectives, and make connections to themselves and their world.
  • Multi-genre selections
  • Contemporary and classic
  • Literary and informational 
Diverse Authors & Characters Students see themselves reflected in the texts and characters they read. 
See full Table of Contents

Connect Students to a Diverse
World of Reading & Writing

Related Novels & Nonfiction Extend learning with longer, award-winning texts connected to the unit themes and Essential Questions. 

The Connections: Literature instructional model offers flexibility to teach and an at-a-glance view of the skills coverage in each lesson. 

Before You Read 

Reading for Meaning and Literary Lens skills are introduced to activate or build upon prior knowledge. Skills are color coded and reinforced throughout the reading passage. 

Passage Vocabulary
Students learn complex words within the context of the reading passage to accelerate comprehension.

Graphic Organizers
Reinforce strategic reading and help students organize thoughts as they read. 

After You Read

Students develop collaboration and higher-level thinking skills to demonstrate what they know. Tasks grow from basic comprehension skills to evaluation.

Essential Question Connection

Students synthesize what they read and make connections back to the Essential Question.

Depth of Knowledge (DOK)
Levels are provided in the Teacher Wraparound Edition for quick reference.

Literary Lens Activity The literary element for the passage is reinforced after reading for students to apply what they know. A graphic organizer helps structure their response.

Language Connection

Students practice and apply skill-based strategies for the acquisition of new vocabulary, including morphology, denotation and connotation, and domain-specific words.

Language activities are included where students are asked to practice and apply a language skill within writing. 

Speaking & Listening
Short activities support multi-modal learning and standards-based expectations. 

Online Resources
Access additional writing supports online like graphic organizers and editable rubrics. 

Graphic Organizers
Help students organize ideas and structure their draft. 

Enable Deep Understanding, Critical Thinking
& Effective Communication 

During Reading Practice 

Students pause and reflect to analyze the text-dependent Active Reading callouts placed throughout the selections. Callouts are labeled and color coded to indicate the skills focus. Think About It questions are in-text spiral reviews of previously taught skills to keep skills fresh and build automaticity. 
Practicing the mode of writing is supported with step-by-step process writing notes and a graphic organizer to help students plan their writing. 

Critical reading involves a higher level
of involvement from a reader than casual reading. The reader will actively apply strategies and thought processes while raising questions about character dialogue, author’s purpose, setting, and more. 

Students write in response to reading and create their own, fully developed writing piece within each unit. Writing is intended to be a synthesis of what they read and a reflection of their understanding. 

Writing in Response to Reading
Students practice text-based writing and on-demand writing using textual evidence to support their thoughts. 

Writing Focus
Each unit wraps up with the writing prompt based on the unit Essential Question. The focus of the Writing Focus outlines the key elements of the writing mode covering:
• Narrative
• Informational/Expository
• Argumentative
• Literary Analysis

Mentor Text

Students have access to a full-length mentor text in the same genre of the writing mode.
Think About It questions prompt the student to reflect on the author’s purpose and writing style. 

Dissecting the Mentor Text
Students analyze the structure and development of ideas in the mentor text and emulate these in their own writing.

Model Student Essay 

Using student models is an effective strategy to demonstrate effective writing students can emulate. 

Practicing the mode of writing is supported with step-by-step process writing notes and a graphic organizer to help students plan their writing. 

Writing Process in the Mode
All writing is not the same. The process writing steps the student through the unique considerations of the mode.


Students take a deeper dive into a writing skill—it’s like an embedded minilesson! 

Immersive Reader 

Comprehension is the gateway to meaning, and state-of-the-art Immersive Reader technology delivers. ALL students have the power to:
• Adapt the passage based on their own learning needs.
• Translate the text into over 100 languages with audio support.
• Enhance learning with picture dictionary, line focus, parts of speech, and more.
• Customize readability by changing font type, text size, and background colors. 

Interactive Activities 

Apply learning objectives,
synthesize evidence, and practice using a variety of items, organizers, and writing prompts. 

Digital Collaboration
Students can share ideas and collaborate with peers using the interactive collaboration feature. 

PowerPoint Presentations

Ready-made and editable presentations include embedded videos and models to build background knowledge and prepare students for learning.  

Essential Knowledge and Skills / Lesson Goals 

Provided at the beginning of each lesson, teachers clearly see the skills covered throughout the lesson. 

Editable Lesson Planners 

Referenced in the Teacher Wraparound Edition, the editable planner. 

Reach the needs of all learners, from striving to thriving, with point-of-use teaching notes and suggestions for differentiation.

Editable Lesson Planners 

Referenced in the Teacher Wraparound Edition, the editable planner. 

Challenge & Extension 

Materials provide opportunities for advanced leaners to respond to material at higher levels of complexity.  

Read-Aloud Poem
Reading aloud with students is a beneficial exercise to model fluent reading and promote a love of reading. 

Empower Academic Growth & Remove Learning Barriers 

Engage all students in learning using the latest instructional technology to ensure all your students can access and comprehend the text. 

Interactive Editions 

Students can easily:

• Mark up the text with highlighting.

• Add notes and capture ideas in a digital notebook.

• Cite textual evidence as they write in response to reading. 

Teaching Resources
Quickly and easily find the program-level, unit-level, and selection-level supporting resources from the Teacher Dashboard. 

Engage all students in learning using the latest instructional technology to ensure all your students can access and comprehend the text. 

Unit Opener and Goal Setting
Teaching support offers questions to guide students in examining the unit theme and Essential Question, establish learning goals, and conduct small group discussions. 

Quickly and easily find the program-level, unit-level, and selection-level supporting resources from the Teacher Dashboard. 

Teaching Resources 

Emergent Bilingual Resource 

Teachers have tips and tools readily available to provide the best learning environment for emergent bilingual learners. 

Related Longer Works 

Extend learning with longer, award-winning texts connected to the unit themes and Essential Questions.  

See Lexiles for each title

Emergent Bilingual Learners 

Support for students from beginning to advanced English proficiency levels are provided in the Teacher Wraparound Edition at point-of-use.  

Measure student understanding and build a plan for success with robust formative and summative assessments. 

Exit Tickets Monitor student understanding of the selection or quickly assess the skills taught in the lesson. 

Selection Comprehension & Vocabulary Checks
Identify student understanding and proficiency with these selection-based checks. Each question is tagged with a DOK level and model answers for open response questions.

Assessments also
available online.

Objective questions can be completed and scored automatically
• Short and extended response questions digitally scored by the teacher using embedded rubrics
• All scored questions populate reports in Perfection Next 

Diagnostic Pretest

A comprehensive Diagnostic Pretest assesses students’ skills at the beginning of the year to get a baseline measurement of what they know. 

Mid-Year Assessment 

A comprehensive Mid-Year Assessment evaluates student progress midway through the school year. Skills and DOK levels are provided for each question. 

End-of-Course Summative Assessment

This assessment shows a culmination of progress and growth towards the skills taught in Connections: Literature. Skills and DOK levels are provided for each question. 

Unit-Level Summative Assessments 

Measure proficiency of skills taught within the unit. Skills and DOK levels are provided for each question. 

Gain insights and inform instruction. Reporting in Perfection Next® helps you manage instruction. 

Usage Reports 

Monitor student engagement and time on task with the Usage Report. 

Class Assignment Report 

View student performance on each part of an assignment.
View standards covered and proficiency toward the standards. 


Monitor assignment performance with easy-to-follow color coding to enable small group instruction or reteaching. 

Student Proficiency Report 

View standards proficiency for each student with easy-to-read reporting. 

For more information, please contact
your educational sales consultant
or visit Connections Literature here