English

The study of English is, in its essence, the process of acquiring literacy: the most fundamental skill needed to live in a civil society. True literacy encompasses the verbal competence to participate in democratic communities, the ability to think critically and act with deliberation, and the empathy to live with others despite conflicts of interest and differences of character. The learning of these skills is vital to creating educated and successful citizens of the world.

The English Department at Benedictine teaches critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in every year of English.


We begin by immersing our students in their first year in two English courses simultaneously: a literature course and a grammar & composition course. These two courses provide an excellent foundation for our Cadets. The grammar & composition course teaches research techniques, rhetorical analysis, and grammar skills, while the literature course equips students with a “toolbox” for discussing literature that they will use in subsequent years.

As students continue their education at Benedictine the core English courses continue the study of literature in various contexts. Sophomore year is devoted to literature of the world and expanding student vocabulary in anticipation of the PSAT and SAT. The next year, pairing nicely with our United States History course, is an in-depth look at American literature, with special focus on what makes our country’s literature so unique and diverse. Students wrap up their English studies at Benedictine with an analysis of British literature. In each literature course, students are exposed to multiple genres and literary movements. Each course also focuses on the continuation of grammar, writing, and research skills.

In addition to our core English courses, we offer two Advanced Placement courses and various electives for students with a passion for the written word.

At Benedictine, we teach students to recognize the power of words and communicate them effectively through their own writing and speaking. In essence, we teach English as a means to show students how to communicate clearly and how to think critically about the world around them.


English Course Offerings

Foundations of Language

The coursework will emphasize the fundamentals of language, including sentence structure, vocabulary building, and learning strategies for improving reading comprehension. Improving reading fluency, maintaining a reading journal, and engaging in reading and writing exercises will be emphasized. Class discussions will facilitate the development and strengthening of fundamental reading skills. To strengthen reading skills, students will sample works from a variety of authors and genres, analyzing major themes and evaluating the works for their literary characteristics. They will work on discovering connections between the stories and their experiences.

Prerequisites: This course is available only on the recommendation of the Admission Committee.

Credits: 1

English 9 and Honors English 9: Grammar and Composition

Students study the intricate nature of grammar and writing, while reinforcing critical thinking and reading skills. Reading selections, writing assignments, and oral presentations are chosen to encourage students to respond creatively to a various types of essays (descriptive, expository, and persuasive). The study of grammar focuses on sentence structure variety, correct punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary development. Writing assignments require mastery of unity, coherence, and elaboration in paragraphs as well as longer papers. Students learn the fundamentals of documenting a research paper utilizing the research facilities in the school’s media center.

Prerequisites for Honors: B or above in English 8; standardized test scores for reading and writing above the 85th percentile; recommendation of the admissions committee.

Credits: 1

Literature 9 and Honors Literature 9

Students will read a variety of works with an emphasis on classics. The curriculum for the year will include a novel, a play, a treatise on virtue, novellas, poetry, and non-fiction. The goal of the class is to familiarize students with a wide variety of literary genres and to help them immerse themselves in the story and thought of the author. From this engagement with the literature, students will develop a vocabulary to better understand and discuss literature. Classes are taught using the discussion method, so students will be expected to come to class having read the material and ready to talk about it.

Prerequisites for Honors: B or above in English 8; standardized test scores for reading and writing above the 85th percentile; recommendation of the admissions committee.

Credits: 1

English 10 and Honors English 10

Students read a variety of literature representative of the great works of the Western literary tradition in light of the Catholic Faith. Students are introduced to differing literary forms, especially the epic and tragedy, and given a solid grounding in Ancient Greek and Roman literature. This course focuses upon and improves the disciplines of reading, analytic writing, grammar, vocabulary, and rhetoric. Students write about the texts of literature each quarter, culminating in a literary research paper requiring a formal, documented paper in MLA format. In language study, students review and build upon skills studied in ninth grade in order to continue improvement in the wording, structure, variety, and punctuation of sentences. Lastly, this course provides essential historical context in which to situate American Literature in English 11 and British Literature in English 12. An honors section, which requires more advanced reading and writing, is offered to qualified students.

Honors Prerequisites: English 9 with a 90 or higher or Honors English 9 with an 85 or higher; a combined reading and writing PSAT score of 80 or higher; and the recommendation of the ninth grade English teachers.

Credits: 1

English 11 and Honors English 11

Students study the major periods of American literature to deepen their understanding of, and appreciation for, their cultural heritage. Literary texts are looked at analytically, and students are encouraged to see relationships between form and content. Helping students to become better editors of their work is the main focus of the writing course, which emphasizes analytical and persuasive writing. A research paper is required in which students demonstrate the ability to gather information from primary and secondary sources; to quote, paraphrase, and summarize accurately; and to cite sources properly. In addition to the regular course outline for English 11, the honors students read additional selections and do more extensive writing.

Honors Prerequisites: English 10 with a 90 or higher or Honors English 10 with an 85 or higher; a combined reading and writing PSAT scores of 85 or higher; and recommendation of the tenth grade English teacher.

Credits: 1

AP English 11 Language and Composition

This course is a college level course that examines rhetoric. It teaches students strategies for writing clearly and effectively, reading critically, and thinking analytically. By examining principles of composition and grammar and the components of literature that cause text to be meaningful, students will enhance their ability to understand how to identify main ideas, author motivation, text organization, tone and style, and will learn how to develop a basic critical terminology for literary genres, devices, and elements. Students will examine both fiction and nonfiction pieces. They will also improve their research skills and persuasive writing skills, with a review of MLA format and citation.

Prerequisites: Honors English 10 with a 90 or above; PSAT Critical Reading and writing scores of 50, ACT English and reading scores of 24 or better or SAT verbal score of 500; and tenth grade English teacher’s recommendation.

Credits: 1

English 12 and Honors English 12

The students survey British literature from Beowulf to the modern writers. The course emphasizes the history and development of the English language as expressed in some of the masterpieces of literature. Furthermore, students get a concise review of English grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. The writing component focuses primarily on the expository essay and seeks to sharpen students’ critical thinking skills, their use of textual evidence, and their development of an individual voice and style. Several critical papers requiring documentation are assigned each quarter.

Prerequisites for Honors: English 11 with a 90 or above or Honors English 11 with an 85 or above; a combined reading and writing PSAT scores of 90 or higher; and recommendation of the eleventh grade English teacher.

Credits: 1

AP English 12 Literature

This course is also reserved for students of exceptional promise since it demands college-level work. The immediate goal of the course is to help students become better writers through reading fiction, plays, and poems, and through writing analytical papers about their reading. In particular, AP English should help students bring their abilities in the writing process up to a university standard of excellence. Emphasis is placed on developing rhetorical and creative abilities, including selecting a provocative topic and exploring it with sound reasoning, creative thinking, and solid textual evidence. Furthermore, students get a concise review of English grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Students will also sharpen the skills required in analytical reading, writing, and thinking and will continue to develop a basic critical terminology for literary genres. The AP exam is required for this course; students with qualifying scores may earn college credit

Prerequisites: English 11 with a 90 or above or Honors English 11 with an 85 or above; a combined reading and writing PSAT scores of 100 or higher; the recommendation of the eleventh grade English teacher.

Credits: 1

Journalism I

Journalism is a full year course that aims to develop specialized skills in news writing, sports reporting, editorial/opinion writing, feature writing, interviewing, and in using technology. Students will also develop an understanding of the social and legal responsibility of the press while they help write, edit, and publish school writings using Adobe Creative Suite 3.

Prerequisites: Recommendation of the current English teacher. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Credits: 1

Journalism II Honors

The students in Journalism II Honors are responsible for writing the school newspaper and for writing and editing a year-end literary journal. For the paper, students generate ideas and write the articles themselves. The articles are edited by a student editor, then submitted to the teacher for final approval before publication. The year-end journal publishes various types of creative material from Journalism I and II students, as well as material from other Cadets. Submissions for the journal include poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, and photography. Journalism II students compile, edit, and publish the journal. Journalism II is mostly self-directed, so it requires considerable maturity and responsibility on the part of the students.

Prerequisite: Recommendation of Journalism I teacher and current English teacher. Open to juniors and seniors.

Credits: 1

Photojournalism/Yearbook

Photojournalism/Yearbook

Yearbook is a one-year course where students produce The Cadet, the BCP yearbook. Staff members develop the theme of the yearbook, design section templates, write stories, take pictures, and submit completed layouts for publication. The class is hands-on and student-driven with leadership positions available. Interested individuals must be willing to interview fellow students and teachers, report and write about school events, photograph games and activities (sometimes after school), and demonstrate an aptitude for computer skills. Computer use, photography, and writing instruction are part of the class and are supplemented with off-campus workshops and conferences. Students who are interested in taking photojournalism must be reliable due to the inherent responsibility that comes with using expensive equipment (computers and cameras) and honoring publishing deadlines.

Prerequisites: Recommendation of the Photojournalism teacher and current English teacher. Application required. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Credits: 1

Survey of Literature

Students will study works from a variety of authors, reading the voices of different cultures. Literature and poetry from around the world and over the ages, including African American writers, female authors, and authors from many walks of life will be sampled. Students will analyze major themes, evaluating the works for their literary characteristics and discovering connections among the stories and students’ experiences. The coursework will emphasize the readings and class discussions. Journal activities and creative writings are stressed in improving the writing process.

Prerequisites: Recommendation of the current English teacher. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Credits: 1