The English program advances four key objectives: to analyze literature; to read, think, and evaluate critically the selected works; to understand and appreciate language; and to refine the skill of writing. A progressive and comprehensive writing program unifies the four years of English study. The English department follows the MLA format for essays and research papers. In the field of literary studies, students are assigned five novels to read each summer. These works reflect the subject matter of their next level in English.
Freshman English is an integration of reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, and study skills. Foundational in nature, freshman English prepares students for future studies by introducing them to all aspects of English to enable them to communicate effectively through the written word. Students are introduced to the core program of writing that develops sentence structure through varied grammatical and rhetorical patterns. The development of critical thinking skills forms an important part of their literary studies. During the year, students read Romeo and Juliet, short stories, poetry, a selection from the Odyssey, and novels, including The Hound of the Baskervilles and Animal Farm. During the third quarter, freshmen are assigned a research project that introduces them to the fundamental skills of research.
Sophomore literature focuses on world masterpieces. Students read selections from the ancient Sumerian epic Gilgamesh to the poems and short stories of modern third-world writers. During the year, sophomores explore the complexities of human relationships through their study of Oedipus Rex, Much Ado About Nothing and Julius Caesar. In the second year of the core program, they continue to develop and refine their own writing style as they explore topics critically and effectively about their reading and the values represented in these readings. Sophomores continue to develop their research skills and submit a research project during the fourth quarter. Development of verbal skills is an important aspect of the sophomore year as students prepare for the PSATs, SATs, and ACTs.
Junior English is a survey of British literature. Comprehensive in scope, this course introduces students to the writings and authors that have come to define British literature. Their course of study includes classic British novels, poems, and Macbeth. Critical examination and study of individual works allow students to address timeless and universal themes and to enhance their personal appreciation of literature at its best. Juniors compose cohesive and analytical compositions as they continue to develop their writing skills.
Honors English III
Honors English is a course for select juniors who will culminate their English studies in AP English Literature and Composition their senior year. In their in depth study of British literature from Beowulf to twentieth-century classics, they read, study, and analyze the literary techniques of key British works that include Shakespearean plays, novels, and a wide variety of poetry. During their year in Honors English, students continue to develop their vocabulary and to hone their core writing skills in their critical analyses of the primary texts.
Creative Writing is an alternative selection to Junior English and Honors English and subsequently fulfills the requirement for English III. Juniors continue their study of literature through selected writings of British authors. These selections give students the finest examples of a particular genre for them to emulate in their own work. The course offers an added dimension of writing to those students with a specific interest and/or talent in writing by giving them the opportunity to challenge themselves creatively in the four generic areas of writing: poetry, the short story, the essay, and drama. Creative Writing students oversee the publication of The Epic, Scranton Preparatory School’s literary magazine.
A.P. English Language and Composition
A.P. English Language and Composition emphasizes rhetoric and composition with attention to particular forms – argument, narrative, and exposition. This A.P. course, offered in junior year, engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Selections for the critical reading for this course come from nonfiction and nonliterary works (i.e. the sciences, history, and politics) and from fiction. The readings take into account different time periods, genres, and are works written in the English language. All students sit for the A.P. Examination in May.
In senior English, students study classics of American literature. They finish their Shakespearean study with Hamlet and advance their mastery of Greek classics with the study of Antigone. In their reading, students examine the works in their cultural and historical context. Seniors continue to use the core program which advances in structural complexity, concentrates on ideas, and methods of development, unity, and style in the writing of both analytic and imaginative essays. Instruction in writing a term paper is also an integral part of senior English; this project requires students to write a three-to-five page research paper which follows the MLA format.
Honors English IV
A brand new elective designed for students who have taken AP Literature and Composition in junior year and wish to continue challenging themselves in their understanding of diverse genres of literature and writing.
AP English Literature and Composition
Advanced Placement English Literature is offered to seniors. A.P. Literature students focus their study on American literature. In each of the respective periods, students learn broadly about the cultural and historical background of the time as well as how these forces influence the literature. With the reading of each work, students additionally analyze the techniques which are peculiar to the genre and which distinguish the writer’s style, characteristic subject matter, and contribution to the canon. All students sit for the A.P. Examination in May.