According to the Institute of Reading Development, seventh-grade reading requirements form an essential bridge from the sixth-grade emphases on text comprehension and basic language conventions to the development of both complex language constructions and critical reading skills that will be essential for both your seventh-grader's remaining school years and adult life. Knowing the important general skills required of a seventh-grade reader, from language development to literary analysis as outlined by the widely adopted Common Core State Standards Initiative, can help you enhance your child's critical-thinking skills along with an ongoing love of reading.

Vocabulary and Language Development

Seventh-grade reading principles work on the continued development of your child's vocabulary and understanding of advanced English language concepts that typically are introduced at the sixth-grade level. For example, your seventh-grader should distinguish between the figurative and literal meaning of words and phrases incorporated into text. She should also have mastered identifying figurative constructions inherent to the English language, such as idioms or metaphors, as well as the roots of polysyllabic words. For example, your seventh-grader should understand that a word ending in “ess,” such as goddess or actress, is in reference to a female character as derived from the Latin suffix.

Informative Text Comprehension

Continued development of comprehension of both informative and literary texts is also an important facet of seventh-grade reading. In addition to understanding the structural differences between informative sources, including reference books and newspapers, seventh-graders should be able to identify an informative text’s central theme as well as summarize its overall narrative based on direct evidence and intellectual inference. Also important is the ability to distinguish between specific claims made by an author in support of an argument, assess the validity of those claims and differentiate between fact and opinion.

Literary Comprehension

Advancing from the sixth-grade expectation to be able to recount the major plot points, your seventh-grader should be able to analyze literature with greater depth. She should be able to describe the traits of characters through careful reading of their descriptions and actions throughout the text as well as point out themes shared between characters and narratives by different authors. In addition to comprehending literary devices, such as irony or foreshadowing, seventh-graders should be able to demonstrate effective comparison of the same narrative told through different media, for example a textual version of a story compared with a theatrical one, in addition to being able to analyze a fictional narrative for historical or geographical accuracy.

Literary Response

Students in the seventh grade typically can provide a cogent and cohesive analysis and critique of literature. He should be able to construct his own response to a text using his recall of the narrative while also being able to incorporate the responses of others. As part of this process, your seventh-grader should demonstrate knowledge of the rudimentary format for a response paper, from title page to bibliography, as well as a burgeoning interest in research using various reference sources.