August, 2014

Parents and Guardians-

In an effort to bridge the challenges of the new Common Core’s rigorous language arts standards, I have selected a text this year for your student to explore.  This text, The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls, will be read as a whole class in the accelerated 8th grade courses. This memoir chronicles the life of the author and highlights her dysfunctional family dynamics.

The novel is a strong choice for students to explore characters, conflict, and the memoir genre.  It’s also a great avenue to encourage students to author their own personal narrative.  Although the story does include some strong topics, images, and language, I feel that it is a great fit for eighth grade students because it will capture and keep their attention and it allows them to safely explore lifestyles outside of the norm for most of them.

This novel will be read, discussed, and analyzed as a group.  This will allow students to digest the novel and understand a more complex text in a thorough manner as together we explore the core ideas and examine the characters.  Please feel free to secure a copy of the novel to pre-read if you so choose, and remember I am always open for questions and conversation about the book.  I know that it will have an impact on your students.  Please make sure your student has a copy of the book available for use in class and at home by the first day of the 2nd nine weeks (October 14th.)  An electronic copy is fine, as long as your student is allowed to bring his/her E-Reader to class each day. If you are have difficulty securing a copy of The Glass Castle, please let me know and I will be happy to assist you. I have found the book to be reasonably priced at  Also, you may find copies at Half-Price Books, as well as the local libraries.

Thanks for your support and please feel free to contact me-



Brandy Spears

8th grade language arts

Genoa Middle School



A link to the Common Core Standards: