Language and Literature

English and Japanese

YIS grades 6 – 8 language and literature courses guide students to see language as an active, collaborative tool for thought. We nurture students at every level to become both skillful and insightful in their reading and writing, encouraging students to plan, write, discuss, edit and share their own ideas independently. By studying a wide variety of texts, students use language as a vehicle for creativity, reflection, learning, self-expression and social interaction. They develop critical, creative and personal approaches to studying and analyzing literary and non-literary works.

Specific language skills are developed in terms of register, technical accuracy and fluency. We hope to foster a lifelong appreciation of language and literature.


Students will be able to read, write, speak and listen in a variety of genres and for different purposes. The development of specific language skills is integrated into units of study as appropriate and according to the needs of the students in mixed-ability groups. Students will engage with information and communication technology in order to explore language, and will apply their skills in a variety of real-life contexts.


Students in Grades 6 – 8 are assessed against the Middle Years Programme Language A assessment criteria:

A) Analysing

B) Organizing

C) Producing Text

D) Using Language

Students complete a range of assessments over the course of the year. These may take the familiar form of essays written in class or at home, or an examination that may focus on comprehension and literary analysis skills. Assessment also includes a range of interpretative, expressive and creative tasks in the form of posters, magazine articles, short films, comic strips, transformation of stories, podcasts, diaries or imagined responses to fictional contexts.

Course Descriptions

English Language and Literature

English Grade 6

Students begin the year with a short film study in order to understand character, plot, setting and theme. A novel study of Wonder by R. J. Palacio allows Grade 6 students to discuss how perspective shapes identity and character. We explore relationships and kindness through studying characterization and perspective in the text. Students read and explore mythology from a range of countries and cultures, developing their understanding of narrative perspective. The first part of the media unit investigates the characteristics of news reports, while the second part focuses on understanding the meaning of moving images through a film study of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Through an author study of Roald Dahl and his novels, students inquire into what makes a good author and why storytelling is an important part of humanity. All the units encourage students to communicate using a variety of literary techniques. They maintain independent reading throughout the year, develop literary skills in all units and develop oral communication skills. Blog posts are used as a way to reflect, communicate and link to a wider audience. Throughout the year, students develop skills in order to solve problems and develop attributes of the Learner Profile.

English Grade 7

The first unit of Grade 7 is an exploration of perspective through the play Two Weeks with the Queen, by Mary Morris, as well as selected short film excerpts. Students respond empathetically to the experiences of the characters and learn about the techniques used by creators. Their responses to the text include reflective writing, a video in which they apply their learning about perspective and an explanation of their creative choices. The second unit focuses on censorship of literature and the media. Students will evaluate a range of challenged texts and make decisions as to what should or should not be censored. The third unit of the year is an exploration of identity through poetry and the novel A House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, which is the story of a young girl’s coming-of-age. Throughout the year students will develop vocabulary, reading and language skills through regular activities and wider reading. Each unit explores various other text types to introduce an understanding of language features.

English Grade 8

The first unit of Grade 8 is an exploration of the fantasy and magical realism genres. We will explore the themes and symbolism of David Almond’s Skellig along with extracts from a range of other fantasy sources. The second unit is a comparative study of pathos techniques in both poetry and advertising. Students will first analyse a range of texts and determine how stylistic techniques can affect emotions before putting these same techniques to use in an original persuasive poem and advertisement. In the third unit we examine how perspective can shape our views on people using S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. Students will learn about narrative perspective and write from multiple points of view using letters to the editor. Finally, we will investigate how relationships are portrayed in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students will explore how comedy can reveal the nature of human relationships. We will also explore a range of advisory non-fiction texts that deal with human relationships. All units involve both analytical and creative work, with students producing such texts as essays, oral presentations, short stories, descriptive writing and poems. Throughout the year students will develop vocabulary, reading and language skills through regular activities and wider reading.

Japanese Language and Literature

Japanese Grade 6

In the grade 6 Japanese Language and Literature course, students study stories about human relationships. They also read the biographies of a visionary person who saved people’s lives in a quake in the 1850s and of a carpenter who restored the oldest temple in Japan. The students also discuss topics such as scientific observation, the news and the pros and cons of the Internet. Related to these topics the students create amongst others a news show in cooperative groups, a story of friendship and a biography of a special person.

Japanese Grade 7

In the grade 7 Japanese Language and Literature course, students study stories about relationships and conflicts and about the interconnectedness of people, animals and nature. Related to these topics the students create stories of their own. The students also discuss the importance of peace. Related to these topics the students write essays to reflect on what they can do to promote peace and good relationships. Another important aspect of the course is the introduction of elements of Japanese history and culture such as “kyogen”.

Japanese Grade 8

In the grade 8 Japanese Language and Literature course, students discuss the theme of conflicts and how to deal with them through the story of Hiroshima. They do various group/class discussions as well as speech and writing tasks. Students learn about and research societal problems and work on possible solutions. They also study literature to reflect on and discuss the relationships among characters and to imagine/read the characters' mind in the story. The students create stories related to the literary works studied.