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English Curriculum Plan of Study

English Curriculum for High Schools

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High school English focuses on basic literacy, the proper use of language for personal and public reasons, and the development of an appreciation for various types of literature. Each year in the English curriculum plan of study is meant to build on previously learned skills while expanding the student's exposure to the realm of literature. In fact, the National Council of Teachers of English has defined 12 standards that should be taught in English Language Arts courses. Each of those standards should be addressed every year in a fashion that helps students grow in their English language abilities. Therefore, similar units of study can be created for multiple years of English instruction, increasing the complexity and requirements for students each year. With this in mind, following is a sample of the courses that a typical English curriculum plan of study might include for each year of high school.

Sample High School English Plan of Study

Year One

English 1

  • English 1 is the introductory course for high school English. Students learn the basics of the writing process including constructing thesis statements and writing essays. They also study grammar rules and vocabulary. In terms of literature, students typically look closely at each author's style, theme, and plot. Finally students learn about and practice research and public speaking skills.
Year Two

English 2

  • English 2 continues to build on the major principles taught in English 1. Students focus on expanding their formal and informal forms of written expression. They work through each step of the writing process from pre-writing to final drafts. Students continue to learn about grammar and expand their vocabulary. In terms of literature, students continue to focus on increasing their comprehension while recognizing theme and plot. They also examine each author's use of literary devices. Students are expected to present information orally and learn more about correct research techniques.
Year Three

English 3

  • With English 3, students focus specifically on American literature. In many cases, this course can be successfully integrated with American History. Students continue to work on their formal and informal forms of written expression. Students are expected to successfully complete literary analyses of various forms of literature. Students are expected to successfully complete a research paper this year along with numerous oral presentations.

AP English Language and Composition

  • AP English Language and Composition typically replaces English 3. According to the College Board, the course is "designed to help students become skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts and to become skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer's purposes, audience expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing."
Year Four

English 4

  • English 4 culminates the student's secondary school language arts experience. The focus is on World Literature this year. Students are expected by the end of this year to be able to comprehend and analyze various forms of literature including essays, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. A strong focus will be on formal written expression through essays and literary analyses. Further, students are expected to complete a research paper this year along with numerous oral presentations.

AP English Literature and Composition

  • AP English Literature and Composition typically replaces English 4. Again, according to the College Board, this course is "designed to engage students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students can deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students should consider a work's structure, style, and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone."

Additional Curriculum Information

Importance of Integrating Curriculum
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