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.