English Courses

  • English teachers at Essex High School believe in the power of literacy.

    EHS English courses focus on critical reading of literary and informational texts, effective writing and speaking skills, as well as vocabulary development. In selecting courses, students should consider their interests, abilities, and plans for the future. 

    Some course titles include level designations related to the rigor of the course:
    • 300 level (also referred to as AP, Honors, or Advanced) courses are designed for students who have demonstrated exceptional ability in the subject matter.
    • 200 level courses are designed for students who have demonstrated a high performance record in the subject matter.
    • 100 level courses are designed to help students meet course proficiencies and graduation requirements.
    • Courses with no level assigned are open to students who have taken any indicated prerequisites.

    Return to English Department page.

  • Grade 9 Courses


    GRADE 9 ENGLISH
    Course Number L229      1 English credit      Grade 9

    In this humanities-based course students will read and analyze a variety of literary texts: novels, drama, short stories, poetry and non-fiction. Work will focus on structured writing, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and discussions of literary and historical context. Students will be assessed and challenged as is appropriate for their needs and strengths, and emphasis will be placed on helping them make a smooth transition to the high school.


    GRADE 9 HONORS ENGLISH
    Course Number L230      1 English credit      Grade 9

    This humanities-based course is designed for motivated 9th graders, confident in their reading and writing skills. Students will be challenged to think across disciplines through intensive reading and analyzing of literary texts. Work includes in-depth writing assignments, and where applicable, discussions of literary and historical context. Students will study novels, drama, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and vocabulary. Emphasis will be placed on helping students make a smooth transition to the high school.


    Grade 10 Courses


    GRADE 10 ENGLISH
    Course Number L204      1 English credit      Grade 10

    This course is designed for students of various levels. It integrates a survey of traditional and contemporary literature and poetry, emphasizing reading for meaning and understanding, coherent writing, and effective speaking and vocabulary skills.


    GRADE 10 HONORS ENGLISH
    Course Number L106      1 English credit      Grade 10

    This course is designed for ambitious, skilled students who are willing to challenge themselves and work independently. This course integrates the study of literature with further development of writing and speaking skills.


  • Grades 11 and 12 Electives


    The Quadrant System: In order to expose students to a balance of reading and writing courses, 11th and 12th grade students not taking AP courses must follow the quadrant system and earn a total of two English credits. These credits will be comprised of the following but do not need to be fulfilled in numerical order:

    .5 credit from Quadrant 1: Composition
    .5 credit from Quadrant 2: Foundational Literature
    .5 credit from Quadrant 3: Contemporary & Classical Literature
    .5 credit from Quadrant 2, 3, or 4: Special Topics in English

    Note: Students who take AP Language and Composition in 11th grade and AP Literature and Composition in 12th grade meet their quadrant requirements through those courses. Those who take AP Language and Composition but do not take AP Literature must take credits from quadrants two and three in 12th grade. Those who do not take AP Language and Composition must take a course from quadrant one, plus one other course from quadrants two, three, or four in 11th grade.


English Course Electives - Quadrant System

EHS English Courses Quandrant System

  • Advanced Placement English


    AP LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION 300
    Course Number L109      1 English credit      Grade 11

    This course is designed for ambitious and skilled 11th grade students who possess an interest in how the English language works to convey important ideas in our culture. Distinct from a literary studies approach, AP Language and Composition focuses on the study of discourse or rhetoric. Rather than analyzing the forms of fiction or poetry, students will examine the communication strategies used in a wide range of texts: advertising copy, articles, essays, speeches, propaganda, letters, journals, and various styles of fiction that develop devices which inform those texts.

    Students will be asked to write concise analyses of those texts, developing a personal voice appropriate for college writing. Students will prepare for the Advanced Placement Language and Composition exam in May. Although most students need to take this course to prepare successfully for the AP exam, any student may choose to take the exam.
    Requirements: Summer reading and writing.


    AP LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION 300 
    Course Number L108      1 English credit      Grade 12

    Highly motivated and skilled 12th graders who have a desire to work with significant literature will have the opportunity to read, discuss, and write about poetry, short stories, plays and novels of recognized literary merit.

    This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in Literature and Composition given in May. Students should be active readers and expect to write about literary topics. Although most students need to take this course to prepare successfully for the AP exam, any student may choose to take the exam.
    Requirements: Summer reading and writing.


     


  • Quadrant 1: Composition

    COLLEGE PREP COMPOSITION 200 (Q1)
    Course Number L241      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    This course prepares students for post-secondary writing. Using the process of brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, and editing, students learn to write a variety of well-organized, logical essays and produce writing that is largely free of minimum-standard writing errors. Students who have taken Advanced Placement Language and Composition may not enroll in this course.


    COMPOSITION 100 (Q1)
    Course Number L316      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    This course teaches students to express their opinions in clear, logical, structured pieces of writing. While using a process approach that includes brainstorming, outlining, revising and editing, students will write about a variety of topics. Students will also review basic grammar and punctuation rules while working toward learning to write independently to produce a structured piece of writing that has a minimal number of grammatical, usage and mechanical errors.


    Quadrant 2: Foundational Literature

    AMERICAN LITERATURE 100 (Q2)
    Course Number L332      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12 

    This course covers literature from Colonial times through the present day. As students consider what it means to be an American, they will read a variety of authors and genres, including novels, plays, short stories, poetry and non-fiction. Study revolves around issues and themes that have challenged, and will continue to challenge, citizens of our time. Students enrolled in this course will continue to develop reading, writing, and language skills.


    EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE 200 (Q2)
    Course Number L227      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12 

    This course covers American Literature through the Civil War. As students consider what it means to be an American, they will encounter a variety of authors and genres including Native American myth and folklore, slave narratives, and writings that cover early American history through the Civil War. Students enrolled in this course should be prepared to tackle significant reading and writing assignments, and should be willing to actively participate in class discussion. 


    LATER AMERICAN LITERATURE 200 (Q2)
    Course Number L228      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12 

    This course focuses on post-Civil War literature, including novels, plays, short stories, poetry and non-fiction. Study revolves around issues and themes that have challenged, and will continue to challenge, citizens of our time. Students enrolled in this course should be prepared to tackle significant reading and writing assignments, and should be willing to actively participate in class discussion. 


    EARLY BRITISH LITERATURE 200 (Q2)
    Course Number L240      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12 

    What impact has British culture and literature had upon American society? From Beowulf to Chaucer to Shakespeare, these readings will challenge, stimulate, and help students understand British literary influences on our culture. Expect extensive required reading. This course is offered every other year opposite Shakespeare. Offered 2017-2018.


    LATER BRITISH LITERATURE 200 (Q2)
    Course Number L213      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12 

    In this course, students read novels by authors such as Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, and Mary Shelley. Specific titles and authors may change from semester to semester. Students also read the poetry and plays that define this era and continue to influence generations of writers. Beginning in the Romantic era and working up to modern times, this course involves extensive reading.


    WORLD LITERATURE 200 (Q2)
    Course Number L214      .5 English credit     Grades 11-12 

    Students learn to share the joys, sorrows, and struggles common to all peoples while recognizing the demands of different cultures and different eras. Students read and analyze demanding prose and poetry focusing on these universal qualities of humankind. Students should expect extensive reading. 


    WORLD LITERATURE 100 (Q2)
    Course Number L319      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12 

    Acquaintance with cultural differences and universal themes is an opportunity that awaits students in this course. Students will read novels, short stories, plays, and poems that examine values from throughout the world and help them to understand world cultures. Frequent writing and daily reading assignments make up the core of this course.


    Quadrant 3: Contemporary & Classical Literature

    HUMANITIES 200 (Q3)
    Course Number L210      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    Socrates (a classic Greek philosopher from Athens) addressed one of life’s most basic questions: “How should we live?” During this semester course, students will contemplate and debate the value of the humanities and explore emotionally and analytically the literary and artistic works of various writers, artists, film makers, and musicians. Students will begin to define for themselves how they should live, as they analyze and evaluate humanity’s quest for truth and meaning as reflected in the literature we study. This course will focus on the development of critical and creative thinking skills, and will further develop students’ reading, writing, and vocabulary skills.


    MULTI-CULTURAL LITERATURE 200 (Q3)
    Course Number L203      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    This course focuses on reading and responding to contemporary, multi-cultural literature. Reading will include poetry, short stories, novels, and non-fiction that reflect the “varied voices” of people from many places in the global community. Students will research related topics through on-line articles, and give presentations on what they learn. Guest speakers will contribute perspectives from their experiences and travels.


    ON THE PATH . . .(Q3)
    Course Number L042       .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    Students will study topics of their own choosing to build their literacy and communication skills through in-depth, self-directed study in a dynamic and supportive environment.  Students will learn multiple approaches for working with a wide range of written and visual texts.  Students should expect to demonstrate and document their learning using electronic portfolios.  If you want to build your skills, explore the world, and learn about yourself, get On the Path.


    SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY 200 (Q3)
    Course Number L250      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    In this course students will read, analyze, and discuss a variety of science fiction and fantasy works, including theme-related poetry. Examples of texts students might read include The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien; Fear Nothing, by Dean Koontz; Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, and Magician: Apprentice, by Raymond E. Feist. Students will examine common themes in science fiction and fantasy, figurative language and rhetorical devices, and the genre’s relevance in today’s society.


    SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY 100 (Q3)
    Course Number L360      .5 English credit     Grades 11-12

    In this course students will read, analyze, and discuss science fiction and fantasy works, including some theme-related poetry. Examples of texts students might read include Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling, Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer, and The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Students will examine common themes in science fiction and fantasy, study figurative language, and discuss the relevance of the genre in today’s society.


    SHAKESPEARE 200 (Q3)
    Course Number L260      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    In this course students will read several of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works. Examples of plays that might be read include Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and Measure for Measure.
    Students will read and analyze these demanding works in detail, focusing on universal and timeless topics such as seeming vs. being, justice vs. mercy, and the power and strength of women. Students will study Shakespearean syntax, the use of figurative language and rhetorical devices, and the art of Shakespearean stage craft. This course is offered every other year opposite Early British Literature. Offered 2018-2019.


    SHORT STORIES 100 (Q3)
    Course Number L361      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    Students taking this course will study a variety of authors, genres, and time periods, and will increase their appreciation and enjoyment of fiction. This course will provide practice in reading, writing, and thinking skills.


    SPORTS LITERATURE AND WRITING (Q3)
    Course Number L014      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    In this course students will examine the unique relationship between sports and society through the lens of contemporary literature written by a range of authors, columnists, and journalists. Readings for this course are selected to be high-interest and thought provoking, and include both literary (novels, poems, stories) and informational texts (articles, biographies, commentaries, columns). Writing in this course will include argumentative, informative, and narrative pieces. Attention will be given to women’s sports and outdoor writing (hunting and fishing). Students can expect to read texts such as Friday Night Lights, Shoeless Joe, and The Best American Sports Writing of the Century, along with writing on issues of today.


    VERMONT WRITERS 200 (Q3)
    Course Number L251      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    Though one of the smaller states in the union, Vermont is home to many nationally and world-renowned authors. Some of these authors are native Vermonters, and others have chosen to make Vermont their home. Some write about Vermont, while others live and work in Vermont while writing about faraway places. Vermont Writers focuses on authors that, through birth or choice, reside in Vermont. Students should expect to read a wide variety of texts, including novels, short stories, poems, and plays and continue work on the structured literary essay. Students should expect nightly reading and be able to work independently outside of class.


    VERMONT WRITERS 100 (Q3)
    Course Number L351     .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    Though one of the smaller states in the union, Vermont is home to many nationally and world-renowned authors. Some of these authors are native Vermonters, and others have chosen to make Vermont their home. Some write about Vermont, while others live and work in Vermont while writing about faraway places. Vermont Writers focuses on authors that, through birth or choice, reside in Vermont. Students should expect to read a wide variety of texts including novels, short stories, poems, and plays. Vermont Writers 100 moves at a more moderate pace, and students are provided more support in reading and writing.


    Quadrant 4: Special Topics in English

    CREATIVE WRITING (Q4)
    Course Number L012      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    In this course students will study and analyze short story and poetry techniques and will employ these techniques in their own writing. Creative Writing concentrates on the communication of ideas, stylistic techniques, experimentation with language, and proofreading competence. Students need discipline and enthusiasm for this course and should feel confident about their basic writing skills.


    POETRY (Q4)
    Course Number L011      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    Poetry is powerful. This course offers a varied view to understanding, analyzing, and writing poetry. Students will learn a full range of rhetorical devices, rhyme types, and figurative language that will allow them to delve deeper into the intent and meaning of poems. Students will leave this course with a new awareness of how poems communicate.


    PUBLIC SPEAKING (Q4)
    Course Number L013      .5 English credit      Grades 11-12

    Would you like to conquer your fear of public speaking or perhaps sharpen your presentation skills? Public Speaking helps students improve their communication skills and gain confidence, regardless of where they begin. This course involves reading, researching, and writing about student-chosen topics. Students in this class present all of their speeches in front of an audience, and debate is included if time and class size permits.