Why do we read stories? Why do we study them? One reason is this: reading and writing are thinking; strengthening the former strengthens the latter. By regarding both reading and writing as thinking, English 7 helps students understand not only what people think, but how they think and why. Along the way, this course incorporates all elements of a contemporary language arts program—reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar and writing mechanics—and uses mentor texts, in-class discussions, dramatic read-alouds, large- and small-group work, technology, and the writing process to promote learning. As writers, students practice stories, essays, poetry, and more. As readers, students explore short stories, memoirs, novels, poems, and plays, emphasizing the discovery of key passages to use as evidence. In parallel, students increasingly use claims, evidence, and commentary to grow beyond quick answers in pursuit of positions supported by ample evidence and thorough explanation. To achieve this goal, students also learn to synthesize quoted evidence with their own language, creating for each learner a cohesive and authoritative voice capable of simultaneously advancing and substantiating an argument.