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The primary focus of the Saint James English Department is teaching a respect and appreciation for literature in conjunction with the necessity to pursue excellence in expository writing and analytical thinking. Our core program consists of literature-based writing courses, which focus on the skills and the process of becoming effective writers, readers, and thinkers.

English II - Composition and Literature

English II introduces students to critical reading of literature, expository writing, and the study of grammar, sentence writing strategies, mechanics, and vocabulary. Theme, plot, characterization, setting, symbolism and other literary terms are explored through novels, short stories, drama, and poetry. Students are encouraged to read for detail as well as broad themes, and note-taking and annotating of the text are modeled and practiced. Writing is taught as a process: brainstorming, outlining, writing, and revising. Writing topics are based on the literature, and compositions and in-class writings are assigned each week. Students begin by writing sound paragraphs and build to mastery of the five-paragraph essay. RECENT SELECTIONS: Pecks A Day No Pigs Would Die, Lee s To Kill a Mockingbird, Twains The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Gibsons The Miracle Worker, Londons White Fang, and Wiesels Night. TEXTS: Vocabulary for Achievement, Second Course, A Book of Short Stories I, and Greiffenbergs English Workshop,Second Course.

English III - Introduction to Literature

English III focuses on two main objectives. First, this course aims to lay a strong foundation in writing and composition strategies, grammar and editing skills, and vocabulary study. Beginning with the one-paragraph expository essay, students are challenged to develop thoughtful arguments and then express them with strong thesis statements, appropriate use of textual support, and artful diction. By the end of the year, students should feel comfortable responding to an open-ended prompt in a five-paragraph essay. Creative writing, including poetry, is also incorporated into this aspect of the course. The second objective is to introduce students to major works in American and British Literature and begin the process of critical examination of texts, styles, and genres. Active note-taking; focused and lively discussion of characters, issues and themes; and literary terms complement the focus on literature.
RECENT SELECTIONS: Beowulf, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamilton's Mythology, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and Bronte's Wuthering Heights. TEXTS: English Workshop, 3rd Course and Vocabulary for College-A.

English IV - American Literature

The objective of American Literature is to develop critical reading and writing skills while sampling many classic works of American literature. Careful reading, active discussion, group work, and analytical writing assignments are the basis for our forum. We also devote time to learning vocabulary, practicing grammar skills, and defining and identifying literary terms. RECENT SELECTIONS: The Norton Anthology of American Literature (selections from poets,essayists,short story writers, novelists,and playwrights from 1640 to 1973), Hellers Catch 22, Millers The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God .

English V - British Literature

In British Literature, students read six to eight of the traditions seminal texts. Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton are mainstays of the course. The course not only emphasizes literary analysis through expository writing, but also places importance on the situation of the texts in culture and history. The students analyze theme, character, structure, and technique in class discussions and in various forms of essays. In addition to improving the students abilities to enjoy and interpret what they read, the course teaches students to write clearly and cogently, placing some focus on the 20-minute essay found on the SAT. RECENT SELECTIONS: The Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, Paradise Lost, Pride and Prejudice, Jude the Obscure, and Nineteen Eighty-Four. TEXTS: Vocabulary Power Plus for the New SAT.

English VI - World Literature

The selection of material read in World Literature offers a variety of literary styles, settings, and tastes that give Sixth Form students the opportunity to work on honing their critical reading and expository writing skills. Active participation in the discussion of characterization, setting, issues and themes, cultural and historical background, and literary terms is the focus of our daily forum, along with weekly expository writing projects and/or small research projects and presentations. RECENT SELECTIONS: Gilgamesh; Sophocles Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone; Achebes Things Fall Apart; Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment; Tans The Joy Luck Club; and Shakespeares The Tempest. TEXTS: World Literature: An Anthology of Great Stories, Drama, and Poetry.

Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition

AP English Literature and Composition explores how writers manipulate language to create subtle effects and complex meanings. Through study of masters of prose, fiction, drama, and poetry, students gain insight into the resources and possibilities of verbal expression. The course emphasizes elements such as style, structure, figurative language, imagery, and tone that distinguish imaginative literature. In addition to the primary texts, we read critical essays, a poetry textbook, a style guide, and a glossary of literary terms. Writing for the course is frequent and includes analytical essays, response papers, and occasional creative pieces. AP English students present their compositions to the class, lead discussions, and critique the work of their peers. This course prepares students for the AP English Literature and Composition Examination. REQUIREMENTS: Permission of the instructor and of the Associate Head. RECENT SELECTIONS: The Mayor of Casterbridge, King Lear, Invisible Man, The Wide Sargasso Sea, Medea. TEXTS: Sound and Sense and New Oxford Guide to Writing.

English Composition

English Composition is an elective course that reinforces strategies for expository writing in a workshop setting. Note- taking, thesis development, pre-writing, organization, outlining, writing-oriented grammar, and proofreading are the basic skills stressed. Writing projects include personal narratives, literary analyses, intensive pre-writing, and revision of major research papers. Students also submit rough drafts for all essays they write in their standard English classes. The courses focus on the students own writing is complemented by careful examination of good writing models in short essays and stories. This course does not take the place of upper-level literature courses. TEXT: The Short Prose Reader.

English as a Second Language (Upper-Intermediate)

ESL Support & Study Skills is designed for first- and second- year international students who are fully mainstreamed into English, history, science, and mathematics classes. The primary focus of the course will involve academic skills support for their other classes. Support for efficient text reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary, test-taking, expository writing, and research skills will form the basis of the daily work.

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