Looking out over a sea of freshmen faces, English teachers encounter all levels of background and ability. The teachers’ job is to prepare all those students for the challenging subject matter they will encounter in preparation for college success.
During their freshman year, students engage in intense study of vocabulary and grammar. After an extensive search to find just the right grammar book for Catholic High, the English teachers came together to write their own grammar book called Rocket Grammar. This book uses time-tested instruction such as sentence diagramming to make sense of sometimes confusing grammar rules. Freshmen then master the basic unit of writing: the paragraph. They then complete a variety of writing assignments from narratives to poetry.
The level of challenge increases as students make their way through our program. All along the way, they become familiar with the 32 books on our famous “outside reading” list including classic novels, mythology, Shakespearean plays, and popular fiction.
Sophomores spend the year honing their skills and advancing toward mastery of reading comprehension and interpretation. They also work on extensive projects based on their reading such as a Holocaust project after they read Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical book Night.
Junior year is really an American studies program. Students learn about the iconic writers who both reflected American history and helped shape it. Juniors become proficient in writing a formal essay, the basis of all persuasive writing.
Seniors end their English program with British literature, which begins with ancient origins of English, spends a generous amount of time on the plays and poetry of William Shakespeare, and ends with in-depth discussion of poetry, essays, and novels. Each senior strives to find his voice as he writes his own essays and narratives.
Our program produces young men who are confident in their ability to read with understanding, to write with clarity, and to think beyond the pages of those 32 famous books.