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English Courses

English Course Offerings

Introduction to Literature and Composition

Grade level – 9 or 10

As an introduction to literature, this is a survey course focused on a range of diverse authors representing various genres of classic and modern literature. Students will explore fiction novels, memoirs, poetry, and drama. The course is also an introduction to composition and will emphasize the basic writing skills needed to be a successful writer. Students will engage in composing their own works in each of the genres we study. Above all, this course is designed to make you think, feel, create and communicate. The course is designed with varied assessments, allowing students different ways to communicate their knowledge and develop skills in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Methods and Meaning in English

Grade level – 10 or 11

This course is an examination of language and its role in exploring and describing the human experience. The course emphasizes a thorough study of grammar, from parts of speech, clauses and phrases, on into sentence and paragraph design. In-class writing workshops allow students to post their own writing for group evaluation and editing. Central to the course is a tour of novels and short stories, drama, and poetry, both as vehicles for exploring our world and as models of artistic excellence.

Literary Themes and Analytical Writing (Regular and Honors)

Grade level – 10 (Honors), 11 or 12

This course focuses on exploring themes in literature and writing analytically to engage deeply with texts and, by extension, ourselves. We will work across genres, using literature, film, art, and the world around us as we explore what it means to be human. Through close reading, consistent annotation, critical thinking, and thoughtful reflection, students will engage deeply with texts. We will continue to build upon critical writing skills while also developing distinct and sophisticated writers’ voices. This course is highly interactive, with an emphasis on student engagement and contribution to discussion and class activities.

Advanced Composition and World Literature

Grade level – 11 or 12

Using psychological, historical, and philosophical perspectives, this course focuses on critical analysis of important international and American fiction, poetry, and drama. Most of the writing assignments for the course involve analysis of this literature, but creative essays, peer editing, a research paper, sophisticated classroom discussions, and student class presentations develop the skills necessary for verbal courses at the college level. 

A.P. English Language and Composition

Grade level – 11 or 12

Prerequisites: honors grades in previous courses and teacher recommendation.

Offered in alternate years, this is a nonfiction-based course designed to give students a broad acquaintance with nonfiction, chiefly in the form of essays and long-form journalism; to hone their writing skills through essay assignments in the various genres of nonfiction that we study; to give them a useful grounding in techniques and strategies of rhetoric, as well as in techniques of rhetorical analysis; and to prepare them for the A.P. Language and Composition exam.


Journalism (trimester or full-year elective)

Journalism will explore the history and tenets of American journalism and provide students with an opportunity to research and write articles and editorials for publication. The focus of the class will be to produce a student-run school newspaper, The Mirror. Writing-intensive, the course aims to help students develop the full spectrum of skills used for feature articles, interviews, news articles, photojournalism pieces, and editorials. Students learn how to generate ideas, gather facts and information, write effective leads, and use the most incisive language to convey ideas in a concise and engaging manner. It is open to all students. Offered each trimester; students may take the course for one or more trimesters.

Linguistics (trimester or full-year elective)

Linguistics is a year-long course that prepares students for success in the writing process both during and beyond their years at Northwood. Composition and writing fluency is a primary focus, along with advanced grammatical structures. Essay writing and organization of thoughts and information serve as the backbone of this course. Drafting, revising, and editing foster an understanding of a well-crafted writing sample. Deconstructing the use of various parts of speech, while examining the relationship between phrases, clauses, and sentences allow for a more thorough understanding of advanced English grammar. In addition to experiencing the writing process, students will find support through college entrance examination preparation. Linguistics will assist learners with the difficult task of navigating rigorous exams such as the SAT or TOEFL. The deciphering of expository texts and acquisition of complex vocabulary words will better prepare students for such exams.

Northwood Academic Programs