Reading and writing are the foundational skills on which all other learning is based.
The English curriculum will initially focus on developing a love of reading by encouraging students to explore their reading passions. From that foundation, courses will focus on exposing students to a canon of classical literature progressing from the classics of Socrates and Homer to European, British, Asian, American, and Latin American authors throughout time and including a diverse body of contemporary works. The Shakespearean canon will also be explored with readings all four years. In addition, non-fiction pieces will be studied with particular focus on rhetorical devices and persuasion.
Students will work through the writing process, generating pieces that reflect real-world writing. Steps of pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing will be taught and perfected. Beginning with a strong foundation in grammar, students will become confident and fluent writers. Students will be expected to develop pieces for publication. They will work towards developing a writing portfolio that showcases their best work. The primary focus of the writing curriculum will be developing confident writers who can write for today’s world.
Reading and Language Arts
Reading and writing are taught as separate courses at this level. Reading focuses on an exploration of the written word. Students are guided in developing a reading habit, sampling fictional works from a range of authors and genre to develop a passion for reading. Rather than reading assigned texts, students choose their own books and read at their own pace. In addition, students read poetry and non-fiction articles to gain comprehension skills. Historical speeches are studied and recited. Students are encouraged to generate creative and informative writings based on their reading experience.
Writing focuses on the mastery of English grammar and composition. Beginning with simple sentence structure, students learn about parts of speech and usage including punctuation. Sentence diagramming is taught to further reinforce these grammatical concepts. Students produce a wide range of writing pieces including informational writing based on research. A focus is placed on writing for an audience with pieces submitted quarterly for writing contests and publication.
Students will begin a more focused exploration of genre, beginning with development of literary genres around the world. Classical Greek and Roman works, African folk tales, early Asian and North and Latin American writing, Indigenous works, and European and British pieces leading up to Shakespeare will allow students to explore the early development of literature globally. Deep reading will be used to foster more reflective writing. Students will be challenged to develop their own voice and produce works that contribute to the literary conversation. Publication of student writing and development of portfolio pieces will be stressed. In addition, advanced grammatical concepts will be mastered using diagramming to reinforce the concepts.
As more advanced readers, students will analyze fictional prose and poetry from around the world and throughout time from classical works to contemporary pieces. Independent reading will continue to be encouraged. Broad reading will contribute to a diversity of writing pieces with a focus on informative and analytical expression. In addition, students will write for an audience with pieces submitted quarterly for writing contests and publication.
Beginning with the works of indigenous people, the fictional and non-fictional writings of North American peoples are read. Essays, memoirs, poetry, short stories, plays, and novels representing a diversity of thought and experience expose students to the thoughts and ideas that shaped and transformed this nation. Students will also read a work by Shakespeare. Publication of student writing and development of portfolio pieces will be stressed. Students will develop a wide variety of writing pieces that are reflective of the works read and intended for publication.
In their final year, students will focus on reading 17th century to contemporary works from writers around the world. Students will explore themes of the human condition represented across genre and region and throughout time. Building on these readings, students will write broadly, striving to develop their voice and contribute to the global conversation through fictional and non-fictional pieces. A senior thesis will be completed. Students will finalize a digital portfolio of their best writing across the curriculum.