For seventh grade, I separate reading classes from writing/grammar/literature classes. At the seventh grade level all students can read independently. Reading class provides these students with 20 minutes of silent reading followed by comprehension questions and discussion. Belive it or not, a lot of sevneth graders spend little time reading published literature. Instead, they read texts, and pickup the abbreviated spellings as well.
We have 40 minute classes. Every class, whether reading or writing Language Arts begins with a five minute journal assignment. I have the students write one page. If the paper is not complete they write two pages for homework - rough and published copies due the next day. This may sound mean but writing teaches writing and writing a page a day teaches students to begin work, it gives them conifidence in their abilities and it makes them aware of others' writing because they are writers themselves.
For Language Arts I structure class time by day. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are literature days where we read from our Lit books and do the correlating questions/worksheets/activities. These are the days where we cover our tested benchmarks and skills such as main idea, problem/ solution, text features, etc. On Wednesdays (which are short) we do vocabulary. I used grade 8 vocabulary wor because it exposes students to words they need to familiarize themselves with. I also send as homework subject-specific vocabulary assignments in History and Geography. On Fridays, we do grammar and poetry. Students have a grammar textbook and workbook that we work out of on Fridays. I have them copy a poem from the board and we read it chorally and silently. Then we have a good twenty minute discussion on it. I encourage the students to look for deeper meanings.
With such a short class period (40 minutes), I find it best to divide the days rather than the minutes otherwise something always gets forgotten. By having specific days I know I am always covering all the bases and it's easier for the kids to always know what to expect on any given day.
I assign a weekly essay on a saying. This really helps my ESL students, who may not be familair with many of the says (it's raining cats and dogs, etc.,). I also assign a reading log - twenty minutes per night plus a once a week letter. And a debate reading and graphic organizer.