The English Department’s course offerings help students use language to enrich their lives and develop the reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and strategies essential for effective communication. Students will read and analyze a variety of literary works, write in a variety of styles and genres, and participate in discussions and presentations. Students will learn to locate information for research using appropriate sources and strategies. It is our hope that students will learn to use language more confidently and competently for learning, communicating, and personal enjoyment. Furthermore, our students are challenged to write from their hearts and minds in a way that will influence their writing for a lifetime.
All high school students continue to develop their reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary skills through written compositions and presentations. English courses at all grade levels cover research, paraphrasing, and summarizing skills in order to write responsibly and competently about various topics and to avoid plagiarism. In ninth and tenth grades, students continue to study literary elements and hone their writing skills. Ninth grade students will be exposed to a variety of writing styles and genres, while the tenth grade curriculum focuses on major British authors and movements.
In eleventh grade, analysis and literary interpretation are stressed as students develop an understanding of the major movements in American Literature by reading and discussing works by major American authors. In the AP English Language and Composition class, students are expected to become skilled writers with the ability to compose and revise expository, analytical, and argumentative essays for a variety of purposes and audiences.
In twelfth grade, AP English Literature and Composition is taught as a college-level interdisciplinary humanities course in which students rigorously engage masterworks of human creative achievement, thinking critically about the essential questions they pose. The class is visited by several guest speakers from within and beyond the Notre Dame community. In the Contemporary Themes class, students study and critically discuss major works of fiction and theatre from a variety of time periods and cultures, while continuing to develop their abilities as readers and writers. Senior trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Opera support and enrich the curricula of Contemporary Themes and AP English Literature and Composition.
The curricula of the middle school language arts program reflect Notre Dame’s commitment to the “whole child” by using a variety of teaching and assessment techniques. In grades six through eight, students experience various literary genres and essay styles in order to develop fundamental 21st-century critical thinking and writing skills. As part of the Academy of Notre Dame’s goal to foster a love of reading in each child, outside reading is integrated into English courses. Students read and analyze their chosen works to demonstrate their comprehension and analytical skills.
The Academy of Notre Dame also prioritizes the importance of strong writing skills by having students learn, practice, and master writing skills on a consistent basis. In addition to the traditional assessments of tests, quizzes, and writings, our students produce creative projects which are related to their readings and have many opportunities to participate in innovative and modern projects that include research, webquests, Wordles and Glogsters.