The English Department faculty recognize the importance of teaching reading and writing as related, meaning-making processes. Consequently, language skills are taught in the contexts of literature and writing, with the additional support of vocabulary, reading, and grammar texts as needed. Teachers understand and address the learning needs of girls and young women as they become able and independent readers and writers.
As they move through the grades, students read literature that challenges them intellectually and inspires them to reflect on their lives and the world. In daily small group and class discussions of the literature, students are encouraged to develop confidence in their own ideas, articulate reasoned arguments, and respect the opinions of others. Developmentally appropriate literature is taught at all levels, and books are selected for their literary merit. The Department values diversity within the curriculum so that, in addition to important works from Europe and America, students read literature by writers from various cultures outside the Western tradition.
Writing is taught as a dynamic and creative process of discovering and constructing meaning, and students write in a variety of modes, frequently in response to reading. Students draft and revise their writing, and teachers engaging dialogically with each student through the writing process, both in conferences and in detailed written comments on drafts and finished papers. Teachers grant students agency by presenting them with options as writers within the contexts of purpose and audience. Students are encouraged to publish their writing in newspapers, literary magazines, and national student anthologies. English Department Standards
- Students understand reading as a dynamic process of constructing meaning that draws on multiple strategies for comprehension and interpretation; students use personal experiences and knowledge of textual elements and literary conventions.
- Students read literature from different genres, cultures, and historical periods, developing an appreciation for the ways in which literature reflects the range and complexity of human experience.
- Students become active, confident, and independent readers who are willing to challenge texts and authors as they use literature to shape their own ideas and reflect on their lives and the world.
- Students develop an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of reading and writing that affect the production and interpretation of texts.
- Students understand and use reading and writing as powerful ways of thinking and learning that involve such strategies as synthesis, analysis, and problem solving.
- Students develop confidence and voice through writing and class discussions, while gaining respect for the constructive suggestions and opinions of others.
- Students recognize and respect the richness and value of diversity in written and spoken discourse.
- Students learn that writing is a process of drafting, revising, and editing that has different purposes and audiences and involves many decisions about language, form, and content.
- Students develop an enduring appreciation for the power and beauty of language and the value and uses of literature and writing in their lives.
- Students understand the strategies, the tools, and goals of research and the demand for integrity and precision in the use of secondary sources.