Kids who are starting high school need the skills to think critically about all types of information.
High school reading skills include being able to analyze books, infographics, websites, and other forms of writing.
High school math skills include understanding how formulas are related and how they apply in the real world.
Kids who are starting high school often have a lot more choices about which classes to take than they did in
middle school. They also sometimes get to choose the order in which they take classes. For example, some students opt to take Algebra II right after Algebra I. Others hold off so they can sandwich geometry in between.
This kind of flexibility helps explain why some
states’ academic standards don’t break down by grade level what kids are expected to learn in high school.
To help prepare for ninth grade and beyond, eighth graders spend a lot of time learning to analyze and interpret information—to think beyond what’s on the page. Here are some highlights of what skills kids are expected to have by the beginning of ninth grade.
Skills to Get Ready for High School: English Language Arts and Literacy
In preparation for high school,
eighth graders read fiction and nonfiction from many time periods and cultures. These might include an autobiography and a novel about the same concept.
By the time students begin ninth grade, they’re expected to know how to be critical readers and decide whether the information makes sense or seems correct. In eighth grade, kids learn to do activities like these to strengthen language skills:
Eighth graders use all the math concepts and skills they’ve learned in
seventh grade to start learning algebra. They start using many variables to work with expressions and learn about numbers known as “irrational numbers”—ones you can’t write as numerals, decimals, or fractions. This requires a lot of
abstract mathematical thinking.
Students do the following math activities to strengthen math skills and to help get ready for high school:
Learn that rational numbers can be written as a fraction or as a decimal (like 3/4 = .75), but that the same isn’t true for irrational numbers (like the square root of 2)
Figure out the square roots of perfect squares (like the square root of 64 = 8)
Solve and graph equations; figure out the ratio of two numbers by looking at a line on a graph
Learn the meaning of a function—a rule that gives a variable a value based on its relationship to another variable (2x = y)
Determine when shapes are of equal size and shape (congruent) and when they are the same shape but of different sizes (similar)
Use the Pythagorean theorem to find the lengths of the sides of a right triangle
You can also prepare your child for high school reading and writing by practicing how to understand puns and figures of speech. Finding ways to use decimals and fractions in daily activities (like calculating sales tax) can help your child get ready for high school math classes.