Students who complete the Middle School English curriculum at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes will have read widely in a variety of literary genres, discussed and written about universal themes and their moral implications, and acquired the skills and language to interpret literature and its place in the human experience. The English program fosters intellectual curiosity and a lifelong love of literature and language.
The course offers an introduction to the study of literature by genre; selections include short stories, poetry, and novels. The course also includes the study of grammar, the acquisition of new vocabulary on a regular basis, and the development of formal and informal writing skills. The writing program focuses on paragraph construction and emphasizes the writing process, from pre-writing to the production of a final draft. Literary analysis and creative writing are practiced in the course, which also includes study skills, organization skills, required outside reading, and oral presentations.
The course is a continuation of the study of literature by genre with an emphasis on the inference of important ideas in the text. Language study skills are taught in conjunction with reading and writing skills, and vocabulary study focuses on unfamiliar words in the literature. The writing program covers both formal and informal writing; students learn to write expository, narrative, and descriptive papers. Required outside reading, oral presentations, memory work, oral reading, and poetry writing are all included in the course.
The culmination of the Middle School English program lays the foundation for the more advanced study of literature and writing in the Upper School. Students study literature by genre and interrelated themes and engage in sustained discussion and debate. The course also introduces students to Shakespeare, as well as a variety of literary conventions and styles. In writing students begin with one-to-two paragraph papers designed to teach the basics of literary analysis and argument; later in the year they write four-to-five paragraph responses to literature, supporting a thesis statement with topic sentences, quotations, and textual examples. Language skills are taught in conjunction with reading and writing. The course also includes poetry writing, personal writing, and required outside reading.