English Courses

Back to English Department


Beginning Literature [Full Year]
This course is designed for students whose native language is not English and introduces them to American and international stories and novels that are typical for a high school English course. The texts expose students to literature that offers various points of view, rich literary devices, life lessons, and opportunities for critical thinking. Students will learn techniques to increase their reading rate, word recognition, and comprehension skills while strengthening their knowledge of authors, basic literary terms, and genres. The texts will also provide the subject matter for a variety of oral and written practice throughout the year. Writing will focus on both form and expression, and students will express themselves orally in conversation, discussions and presentations. By the end of the year, students will acquire the skills necessary for success in Suffield’s English courses. Prerequisite: Multiple-measures assessment [placement test]

English I [Full Year]
English I is a course that builds skills. It recognizes that students enter Suffield with a wide range of backgrounds in the study of English. The course begins with a reading of short stories and uses these to introduce a variety of literary terms and story elements that are expanded upon all year. From short stories, students advance to the reading of drama and novels, then end the year with a study of poetry. Thinking and analytical skills are developed as the level of sophistication increases with the texts. In addition, each term is augmented with the formal study of grammar and vocabulary. At the heart of the course is the teaching of writing skills. Students begin the fall by reviewing the elements of a well-crafted paragraph. As the year progresses, students learn to create well-developed essays. At all times, students are encouraged to become active thinkers and participants in class discussion. Course texts include English Workshop, Shostak’s Vocabulary Workshop, Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet, The Catcher in the Rye, and selected poetry.

English I: Honors [Full Year]
English I Honors is a course designed for the passionate student of literature whose skills are beyond the scope of the regular English I curriculum. The themes of the course can be described as a journey of self-identity as illustrated in the classic The Catcher in the Rye and the memoir This Boy’s Life, a journey of identity within one’s place in the family as depicted in Ordinary People and Pride and Prejudice, and finally, a journey of identity through the imagination as presented in The Secret Life of Bees, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the short stories of Gabriel García Márquez. English I Honors focuses deliberately and methodically on improving analytical writing. Weekly writing workshops cover topics from advanced issues of grammar to structure of formal essays and incorporation of textual material and analysis. An annotated bibliography project is incorporated into the winter term. Vocabulary skills are developed throughout the year using Jerome Shostak’s Vocabulary Workshop. Prerequisite: Permission of the Dean of Academics & Faculty

English II [Full Year]
English II is a course aimed at developing students’ reading, writing, and discussion skills. Different genres are explored including short stories, novels, drama, and poetry. Readings include short fiction by Poe, Jackson, Hemingway, and Faulkner, and texts such as The Odyssey, Othello, A Streetcar Named Desire, Oedipus Rex, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. One of the primary goals of this course is to develop a common language for literary analysis. Our exploration of literature also includes the thematic links that tie short stories and novels together. Major topics for discussion include illusion and reality, loyalty and betrayal, first impressions and deeper knowledge, and innocence and experience. Students build analytical writing skills with emphasis on thesis development, quotation analysis, and revision. Significant emphasis is placed on vocabulary study with the goal of developing more effective written and verbal skills. Students also continue to develop grammar skills through class exercises and writing assignments. Class participation is a major feature of the course. Students are encouraged to contribute to daily discussions in order to develop their confidence, voice, and interpretative opinions.

English II Honors/AP Language [Full Year]
Students entering this course have well-developed writing skills and a sincere interest in exploring all forms of literature at a challenging level. Students are prepared for and are required to take the English Language AP Exam in May. In English II Honors/AP Language, students will focus on analyzing rhetoric in all the various forms that it takes in our modern language ecology. Emphasis will be placed on students working to refine their persuasive powers and to understand the principles of argumentation and rhetoric. Students will be expected to contribute actively to class discussion, and essays will be assigned on a regular basis. Adding supplemental materials along the way, the course relies on two texts: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion by Jay Heinrichs and The Language of Composition: Reading - Writing - Rhetoric, by Renee H. Shea. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair or the Dean of Academics & Faculty. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair or Dean of Academics & Faculty

English III [Full Year]
English III is a survey of American literature aimed at further developing analytical writing and close-reading skills. This course illuminates ideas and movements of intellectual and literary history, such as Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism, as they relate to American authors. In addition, English III explores a constellation of themes: the question of the American identity, the fashioning and evolution of the American Dream, the exploration of the American landscape, and various issues in relation to American culture. Students learn to appreciate all literary genres, each studied in the framework of literary history. Analytical essays are composed throughout the year, and a year-long, focused vocabulary study supplements the reading and writing assignments. Issues of grammar are studied in context. Major works include The Scarlet Letter, the poetry of Dickinson and Whitman, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Awakening, The Great Gatsby, Fences, and selections of modern American poetry. Our primary text, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, allows individual teachers to supplement the curriculum with additional selections.

English III Honors / AP Literature [Full Year]
This course is specially designed for students who revel in reading quickly with a high degree of comprehension, whose analytical writing is already advanced, and who exhibit insatiable curiosity about literature. Students are prepared for and are required to take the English Literature and Composition AP Exam in May. In addition, the course continues work done on vocabulary in the freshman and sophomore years using Jerome Shostak’s Vocabulary Workshop series. Quizzes and cumulative tests are given in the question format of the SAT and AP. Students write papers throughout the year on topics of an interpretive and analytical nature. The course’s major emphasis is a survey of American literature. English III Honors/AP Literature students are expected to move through this survey rapidly and more thoroughly than their peers in the standard level. Major titles in this section include The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, My Antonia, The Awakening, The Age of Innocence, The Sun Also Rises and The Great Gatsby. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is also contextualized within an intensive examination of the dramatic tradition. Plays examined in this also unit include Macbeth, Hamlet, and Doctor Faustus. In the spring, Whitman and Dickinson, are placed within the lyric tradition with other major poets, such as Shakespeare and Donne. During this focus, each student produces a critical research paper on the work of a poet of his or her own choosing. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair or Dean of Academics & Faculty