The Guide to 6th Grade: Reading and Writing

Review reading and writing curricula for 6th grade, including what to expect and resources to support learning.

By Scholastic Parents Staff
Aug 13, 2020



The Guide to 6th Grade: Reading and Writing

Aug 13, 2020

In their first year of middle school, 6th graders embark on a new journey in their schooling, and with that comes new challenges and changes. In many ways, 6th grade is a year of significant transition for students as they use the skills they have previously learned and apply them to more complex and independent learning in deeper and more rigorous ways. 

While collaboration may still be an important part of the curriculum, students are often required to produce more extensive independent work, specifically in writing. This calls for greater independence and organizational skills, and it may certainly require some adjustment and practice in the beginning of the school year.

Read on to find out what to expect this year! You can shop all sixth grade books and activities at The Scholastic Store.

Sixth Grade Reading 

The ultimate goal of the 6th grade reading curriculum is for students to read increasingly complex texts over the course of the year, preparing them for high school, college, and careers beyond. Students read a variety of texts and different genres, including fiction, drama, poetry, and non-fiction.

There is a specific emphasis on and increase in the reading of nonfiction texts in order to prepare students to read, write, and research across subjects. As students read more complex texts, analyzing and understanding them in deeper ways, they strengthen their knowledge of all subjects.

In order to build reading skills, your 6th grader:

  • Uses evidence from the text in order to summarize the plot, make inferences about and analyze the text, and determine the central theme or themes in a text.
  • Understands and explains the point of view in a text; understands the significance of certain words and passages in a text.
  • Understands and relays the main thesis or claims of a non-fiction text and its supporting evidence.
  • Reads and compares different texts and genres that address the same topics.
  • Uses a variety of media and formats, including video and audio, to further enhance understanding of a topic or text.
  • Participates in class-wide and group discussions expressing the ideas and skills learned.
  • Practices a variety of vocabulary skills, including using the context in which a word is found to determine the meaning of words, recognizing roots of words, and using digital and physical reference materials (dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries).
  • Gains an understanding of and the ability to explain figurative language in a text.

6th Grade Writing 

In middle school, 6th graders are encouraged to push themselves further in their writing and write with increased complexity in terms of  length, subject matter, vocabulary, and general writing techniques. At the same time, 6th graders practice and refine many of the skills previously taught to them while enhancing them with the new skills and techniques they learn. 

In order to build writing skills, your 6th grader:

  • Writes using more complex vocabulary and about more complex content.
  • Writes over extended periods of time, such as when writing long-term research or expressive pieces that may take a week.
  • Writes for short amounts of times, such as in one sitting.
  • Writes a variety of genres for a variety of audiences.
  • Writes structured and well-organized opinion, research, and informative pieces that:
    • Use supporting claims and evidence based on credible texts and resources.
    • Include an introduction, a conclusion, and transitions.
    • Integrate other forms of media and formats, such as graphs, charts, headings, audio, or video when appropriate.
  • Writes well-structured narratives (both true and fiction) that include:
    • Descriptive detail of characters, settings, and experiences.
    • Dialogue.
    • A clear structure, with a logical order and flow, thought-out word choice, and a conclusion.
  • Plans, revises, and edits writing, with guidance from teachers and peers.
  • Writes pieces that display the reading skills achieved, including analysis of text, making comparisons and claims, and developing arguments using specific evidence.
  • Uses technology and the Internet to produce and publish writing, work with others, and type a minimum of three pages in one sitting. 

Shop the best resources for sixth grade below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store

Explore other grade guides: 

Your Sixth Grade Book Checklist

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