- To encourage care and precision in writing and speaking the English language
- To foster a love of reading, and excellence in the craft of interpretation
- To promote familiarity with a variety of literary genres, styles, and historical periods
- To inculcate, by means of a pedagogy based in questioning, the skill of critical thinking
Fourth- and fifth-grade English focus on developing basic reading and writing skills. Students expand vocabulary, gain familiarity with grammatical structures, and put their knowledge into practice through frequent writing exercises (including a weekly creative writing workshop). Reading stories and novels improves students' comprehension; frequent class discussion encourages boys to acquire confidence in expressing their ideas orally.
Sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade English build on this strong set of fundamental skills to produce highly literate, articulate, and thoughtful young men well prepared for the demands of high school.
Students read a wide selection of texts, some readily accessible to middle schoolers (Samir and Yonatan, The Giver, To Kill A Mockingbird), but some distinctly more challenging (The Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Frankenstein). Students in all three grades read a Shakespeare play each year, and stage a full-length performance in the spring.
Frequent in-class writing exercises combine with a variety of writing assignments (stories, letters, alternative endings, discursive essays, research papers) to help boys grow into confident and purposeful writers. Constant discussion and debate teach the boys to develop and defend opinions through logical argumentation.