Insight Middle Courses™

Close the knowledge gap and dramatically improve literacy achievement in middle school with Insight Middle Courses™. Our core 6-8 curriculum improves literacy achievement through a global, thematic, and project-based approach. Students develop content knowledge as they engage with diverse and rigorous texts, themes, and topics.

Each lesson is designed for a 90-minute reading and writing block with each unit lasting approximately 8 weeks. Units include up to 35 lessons where learning through authentic and integrated literacy and project work develops independent readers, writers, thinkers, and doers.

Insight Middle Courses™

Signature Elements

Diverse and Global Texts, Topics, and Themes

Through the careful selection of texts, topics, and themes, students experience affirming mirrors that reflect their identities and communities as well as windows into new knowledge, insights, and ideas.


Students develop deep, meaningful knowledge in order to forge connections and think critically across topics, themes, and ideas. They apply this knowledge through rich discussions, reading, writing, and project work.

Rigorous Writing Instruction

Central to the curriculum, students study and closely analyze author’s craft in order to hone their skills and become clear and compelling writers. They engage in a robust process of critique, feedback, and revision in every unit.

Student Choice

Part of building independence is creating opportunities for choice. Student choice is woven into meaningful project and writing work, and students take the lead in discourse and thematic independent reading.

Thematic Projects

The yearlong theme doesn’t end with the core class texts, but rather, our curriculum makes authentic connections to the key projects in each unit.


Our approach supports both teachers and students to put meaning front and center in reading, writing, and critical thinking.

Accelerate Learning with a Knowledge-Building Curriculum

Insight Middle Courses™ Themes

Research shows that reading comprehension depends on both fluency skills and a very broad base of knowledge. Knowledge building is proven to strengthen reading comprehension, but is a missing piece of the puzzle in literacy curricula used in many schools across the country.

Insight Middle Courses™ incorporates non-narrative nonfiction into every course. Students build knowledge around:

  • Neuroscience and the early development of humans
  • Dystopian societies
  • WWII, the Holocaust, and Japanese internment in the U.S.
  • The Iroquois Confederacy and their influence on the founding fathers
  • The impact of the sugar trade on the world
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • Various technological innovations throughout history and their effects on society
  • The labor and suffrage movements of the early 20th century
  • Greek Drama and Tragedies
  • Key speeches throughout American history


Curriculum Themes

Who am I and what does it mean to be human?

Our 6th-8th grade scope and sequence begins where most middle school students
are deeply immersed — in a study of identities and intersectionality that allows
students to engage in a yearlong exploration of themselves and their own identities
while also learning about others that may be different from themselves. This lays the
foundation for students to engage with themes, topics and texts throughout middle
school that allow them to develop both an appreciation and respect for differences
while also considering the universality of the human experience. Students study their
own identities, deeply consider the various forces and factors that shape identity, and
examine the research and science of human development over a lifetime.

What is my role in society?

In 7th grade, students shift their focus from personal and individual human
development to a study of human interactions in the United States and the world
throughout history. They consider how human history has been shaped by
human interactions; our efforts throughout history to collaborate, the causes and
consequences of human conflict, and our continued striving to be and remain in
community with one another.

What is my impact on the world?

In 8th grade, students’ learn about and reflect on change makers throughout
history, as well as how humans continue to work to positively impact the future.
Throughout the year, students both utilize and build upon knowledge they have
developed throughout middle school, and continue to gain new knowledge
through this lens. The focus is on how individuals have had positive impacts on the
world around them, as well as how communities and groups of individuals have
had an impact. The year culminates with reflection and study of how students will
become changemakers in their own lives.


“Insight Middle Courses™ has brought a refreshing element of relatability to my ELA class. Insight’s curriculum inspires my 8th graders to envision themselves as change-makers in the world by providing them with texts that show them how others, from a diverse variety of backgrounds, have made a global impact across history. The project-based learning approach emboldens my students to envision their dreams and make them reality. Many curriculums bolster rote thinking and thus dim the intellectual curiosity and investment of the students they are meant to support. Insight, on the other hand, encourages creativity and embodies the vision that all people, whatever their background or identity, can achieve greatness and push the world forward. This is how lifelong learners are born.”

Katie, 8th Grade ELA teacher at Harlem Village Academies

Insight Middle Courses™


Insight Middle Courses Book List

In order for students to fall in love with reading, they must have the best literature at their fingertips. And, ample time to unpack, analyze, and discuss complex grade-level texts. Each piece of literature in the Insight Middle Courses™ curriculum was carefully selected. Immerse your students with literature by award winning authors and support culturally-responsive pedagogy.

While books can be purchased from any vendor, Lavinia Group has a partnership with Mackin to support schools with ordering books from our various curriculum products.

There are two ways to utilize Mackin to identify and order books:

  • Review the Mackin’s Lavinia Group webpage to identify and purchase the titles needed for each curriculum product.
  • Connect with Mackin’s Classroom Services Team to advise on the correct titles and order quantities based on the curriculum your school will be implementing by emailing

Request a Curriculum Sample

Insight Middle Courses™

Professional Development Course

rise results

Professional development is an integral part of adopting a new curriculum. With Lavinia Group's dedicated Insight Middle Courses™ Institute Course, participants become familiar with and immerse themselves in each component of the curriculum. Throughout this year-long institute course, participants will build skills in key areas such as facilitating student discourse, effectively coaching students in groups and individually, and responding to trends in student writing.