BHS Language Arts Curriculum

Hillel Academy’s language arts program guides students in developing critical reading skills, expand their vocabularies, improve their written and oral communication skills, and enhance research skills through analysis of both literature and nonfiction. Students refine their writing skills with an emphasis on compositional organization, editing, and correct use of conventional English. By concentrating on both literature and nonfiction, students will develop an appreciation of great literature and will develop the writing skills that are required in college and beyond.

 English Literature

This language arts curriculum consists of the development of literary analysis, writing skills, vocabulary development,  and reading comprehension. Titles are chosen representing the various genres of literature: short stories, poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction. The chosen works often lend themselves to discussions of important life questions. The students will explore many universal and pertinent themes found in the literature such as personal growth/maturation, appearance vs. reality, self-sacrifice for the greater good,  good vs. evil, heroes, morality and ethics. They will also explore the use of symbolism and recurring motifs. In addition to discussing literature, the students will develop their analytical writing skills. They will focus on structuring an essay with an obvious thesis statement, supportive evidence from the text, and clear and cogent rhetoric. Their analysis should also contain recognition of a variety of literary devices and figurative language such as metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, and so on. Students will also concentrate on improving grammatical skills and mechanics, reviewing proper use of commas, apostrophes, quotation marks, and other punctuation. Finally, students will have the opportunity to challenge themselves by completing additional coursework requirements for Honors English.

Reading and Rhetoric

Students read widely across genres while considering the rhetorical devices authors use to make themselves understood. Students will then employ these techniques in their own writing, so what they write is both a clear expression of their thinking and says something meaningful. This course requires reading a variety of texts, including novels, plays, poetry, short stories, and non-fiction. The course is divided into a series of topic blocks which includes reading text, class discussion, and written exercises, including an essay. The essays allow students to practice the form, and will include idea generation, planning, information gathering, execution, editing, and revision.

Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition (11-12th Grade)

AP English Literature and Composition challenges students to read and write about works typically found at the college level. The course engages students in careful and critical analysis of literature.  Through close scrutiny of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the various techniques and devices that writers use to engage the reader and to provide meaning. As the students read, they will examine the work's structure, style and theme, as well as such elements as figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone. Students will learn to scrutinize and dissect various passages from literature, recognize literary devices and techniques, develop a working vocabulary of literary terms, and become more effective and focused writers through the proper instruction and evaluation of effective rhetoric. Students will also learn to write and rewrite expository, analytical, argumentative and creative essays, incorporating both teacher and peer input. The course will prepare students to take the national AP exam and gain college credit toward English requirements.

Advanced Placement English Language and Composition (11-12th Grade)

AP Language and Composition encourages students to become skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and to compose for a variety of purposes. Reading and writing assignments highlight the interactions among the writer’s purpose, the audience’s expectation, the subject matter, and the way generic conventions and language choices contribute to effective writing. Students will compose in a variety of forms—narrative, exploratory, expository, argumentative—and on a variety of subjects from personal experiences to public policies, from imaginative literature to popular culture. Students will examine the expository, analytical, and argumentative writing that forms the basis of academic and professional communications and the personal and reflective writing that fosters writing facility in any context. They will read a wide variety of prose styles from many disciplines and historical periods to gain an understanding of the connections between interpretive skills in reading and writing. Students will also learn to create and sustain arguments based on readings, research and/or personal experience. The course will prepare students to take the national AP exam and gain college credit toward English requirements.