The English department offers a challenging college preparatory course of study, covering many areas: literature, composition, vocabulary, research, SAT preparation, technology, and presentation. In our English classes our students read critically from a variety of genres: poetry, drama, nonfiction, and fiction. They will learn to analyze what they read, discuss their insights into the literature, and write well in response. The analytical skills they sharpen by reading, thinking, talking, and writing in their English classes through the years will help them in college, career, and life.
During their English classes, students will get to know a number of works of literary merit in depth, as well as surveying American, British, and world literature. Frequent discussions and writing practice will focus on various techniques. Reading aloud, performing parts in plays, and participating in class discussions are effective ways for students to improve their comprehension of the nuances of language. Each year the students are expected to have read the specified summer reading books and to have completed the assessments.
Students will be encouraged (and at times required) to use computer technology to explore literature and present their work. Word processing, power point presentations, and online research are also part of our classes. Presentation skills are an important part of many adult careers; consequently, they will be practiced in many courses. Group projects also help students to learn to work effectively in a team, an important skill in both college and the workplace.
Frequent compositions and writing advice will lead to an increased understanding of the structure of language. Modern methods of doing research and developing a properly documented research paper are also covered.
Both the methods and mechanics of writing well are emphasized. Pre-writing activities (understanding the tasks required by the question, selecting appropriate evidence in support of the thesis, and planning the essay) lead to writing the essay itself (using examples, quotations, and other details to support the thesis adequately, as well as writing in a unified and coherent manner). Post-writing activities (proofreading, revising, and learning to score the essay according to guidelines) finish up the well written essay.
Vocabulary enrichment combines current usage and words in literary context. The department also emphasizes preparing for the verbal SAT: learning words, prefixes, roots, and suffixes commonly on the test; improving test taking skills; and doing actual test practice. Students will find that improvement in this area leads to equivalent success in the reading and writing components of their college experience.