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The Essential Guide to Language, Writing, & Literature

Grades 6–12

Complete grammar, composition, and literature handbooks

A one-stop student reference source for grammar and usage rules, composition guidelines and models, and literary information!

Features & Benefits

  • one easy-to-read source for grammar and writing
  • straightforward format for accessing information
  • one handbook for grades 6 to 8 (middle school) and one for grades 9–12 (high school)—saves money
  • comprehensive coverage of grammar and writing
  • an extensive literature section with literary terms, milestones, genres, and tips for literary analysis
  • 6 Trait writing and process writing are applied throughout the writing section
  • skillbooks for each grade level for practicing language, vocabulary, and test-taking skills
  • addresses writing in a web-based world, cyberbullying, and the latest citation styles aligned with MLA and CMS

Middle School Overview

Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics

Eighteen chapters of rules, guidelines, and models, including A Writer's Glossary of Usage

Six Traits and the Writing Process

Thirteen chapters explore the six traits of good writing; personal writing; writing to inform, explain, describe and persuade; writing about literature; and more.

Skill Building

Six chapters discuss critical thinking and reading, study and test-taking skills, vocabulary development, spelling strategies, and speaking and listening.


Examines how to study literature, famous quotes and characters, mythology and folklore, literary terms and genres, and more.

Complete table of contents

Middle School Components & Pricing

High School Overview

Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics

Twelve chapters on the parts of speech; phrases; clauses; using verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs; capitalization; punctuation; and more.

Writing and the Six Traits

Eleven chapters explore the writing process, the six traits of good writing, writing strong sentences and powerful paragraphs, writing to persuade, writing about literature, creative writing, and more.


Four chapters explore communication for college and the workplace, communication in the digital age, and speeches and presentations.

Skill Building

Four chapters explore vocabulary, critical thinking, spelling, and study skills and test-taking.


Examines milestones in literary history, literary masters, literary genres, literary terms, the 100 most recommended literary works, and more.

Complete table of contents

High School Components & Pricing

Student Skillbooks

Grade-level skillbooks have extensive practice activities that align with the content of The Essential Guide to Language, Writing, & Literature.

Grammar, Usage, & Mechanics

  • Skills activities provide practice for the language chapters in the handbook.

Test Preparation

  • Practice activities prepare students for taking high-stakes tests.

Vocabulary and Spelling

  • Thematic lessons provide context for commonly-used vocabulary words.
  • Multiple activities to help students internalize meanings.
  • Spelling lessons are included only in the grades 6, 7, and 8 skillbooks.

Teacher Guides

  • student-friendly warm-up activities
  • direction for classroom-wide guided instruction
  • strategies for differentiating instruction based on ability and learning style
  • collaborative learning activities
  • workplace applications
  • suggestions for integrating technology

Assessment Resources

  • reproducible pretests
  • chapter tests
  • end-of-course tests
  • rubrics
  • student models

Student Skillbooks

Grade-level skillbooks with practice activities are available for Grammar, Usage, & Mechanics; Test Preparation; and Vocabulary & Spelling.