Our English program firmly rests on the foundational pillars of writing, reading, and oral expression competency that are necessary for solid language development.
The Middle School further develops the English language acquisition initiated in the Lower School. Writing is a key component of the middle school English program and students will experience writing in various genres - short story, poetry, or memoir - but mainly focus on informative and expository forms. In order for middle school students to have a common language regarding writing, the English program utilizes the six traits: voice, organization, ideas, sentence fluency, word choice, and conventions. Communicating critical thinking and logical development of thought into a clear and organized written form is a cornerstone expectation of the middle school English program.
Congruently, writers must read; therefore, reading for middle school students is the second key element of English competency addressed by the program. Developing the skill of literature analysis is essential in our middle school English program. Reading helps students generate more ideas and opinions that enrich what they have to say while developing effective habits of comprehension. Reading serves as a model to improve student vocabulary, sentence structure, and grammar. Analysis of the middle school literature and texts encourages students to grapple with complex philosophical ideals and create personal connections with the world.
Students will not only demonstrate reading comprehension through writing, but through small and large group discussion. Subsequently, these ideas and analysis will be more formally conveyed in various oral presentations that exhibit articulate, professional, and expressive English language acquisition.
The middle school student experiences an English program that rigorously develops the essential language acquisition skills that thoroughly prepare students for academic success.
The Grade 6 English course endeavors to support students in their transition from lower school to the middle school using familiar tools, habits, and literary language. In this year long course, students will cultivate their skills as readers by developing complex inferences, tracking changes in characters across a story, analyzing craft moves authors make to impact texts, identifying themes, and discussing how perspective is addressed in fiction. Not only do students develop these skills through independent reading and interpreting novels as a class, students will participate in literature circles to discuss their findings in collaborative groups. In terms of writing, the Grade 6 curriculum reinforces the Six Traits of Writing, as this is a foundational understanding that will be built upon throughout students' middle school careers. Students will develop maturity and complexity in their writing through personal narratives and descriptive writing, as well as informational and personal essays. Grammar and vocabulary acquisition is addressed both through direct instruction and implicitly through integrated reading and writing instruction.
Texts read may include Esperanza Rising, Ryan; Gate A4, Shihab Nye; Funeral, Fletcher; Holes, Sacher; Blood on the Water; Perry
Grade 7 English is designed to develop student language skills through a close examination of how abstract and figurative language is integrated into the written word. The course is centered on the premise that what students read and what they write are intrinsically linked. Students read novels, short stories, and excerpts exploring how talented authors use literary devices to illuminate themes and develop climactic moments; they integrate these techniques into their own writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. In addition to reading and writing, students will continue maturing as critical thinkers through vocabulary acquisition, speaking, listening, and actively participating in their own learning.
Texts read may include Stargirl, Spinelli; A Single Shard, Park; The Giver, Lowry; The Most Dangerous Game, Connell; All Summer in a Day, Bradbury; The Dinner Party, Gardner; Thank You Ma’am, Hughes; Ex Poser, Jennings.
Students in Grade 8 English will explore a variety of genres that include non-fiction, the novel, poetry, and drama. The primary focus is on analysis where students will examine characters, identify themes, and provide textual support to showcase their understanding of these elements. Moreover, they will cultivate an awareness of literary techniques as they consider the connection between form and content. Students will write expository essays, experiment with a variety of forms in their own poetry writing, and improve their use of vocabulary and grammar. Oral presentations, as well as small and large group discussions, will facilitate the development of a deep appreciation of key concerns.
Texts read may include Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck; Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury; To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee; a variety of contemporary poetry; and a selection of speeches from the plays of William Shakespeare.