|English Language Arts at Heritage Middle School follows a balanced literacy approach which includes literature studies, nonfiction analysis, shared reading and writing, written literary analysis, vocabulary, grammar, and a variety of opportunities for independent reading. Reflecting the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, all units integrate a combination of fiction and nonfiction reading. Each unit is centered on an essential question that is designed to guide students’ thinking. These questions are introduced at the beginning of each unit and are revisited throughout the study of literary selections in a variety of genres. Students will have opportunities to consider these questions in light of new information about a literary period or a new reading or writing experience. Summative assessments are designed to determine student comprehension and to evaluate their appreciation for the complexity of each of these essential questions. Expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative writing, as well as research-based assignments, are infused throughout the curriculum. A primary emphasis is on the transfer of effective literacy, communication, and critical thinking skills both in and out of the classroom.