Advanced Critical Reading

This class covers many of the same concepts as Comprehending Critical Reading, but it does so in a more sophisticated way. The cornerstone texts are Frankenstein and The Road, and the additional readings are similarly deep. ACR is a good follow-up to CCR, and the texts are comparable to sophomore and junior level honors English.

Comprehending Critical Reading

This class introduces the idea of active reading and speed reading for comprehension. Using Fahrenheit 451 and Anthem as cornerstone texts, this class explores reading as a dialog between the reader and the author. Students learn to take notes and annotate as they read, develop connections between texts, make inferences, and search for deeper meaning. Lectures consider fiction, non-fiction, and poetry from a critical reading perspective. In addition to assigned reading from the novels, every class includes short stories to read as homework assignments. Reading quizzes keep students thinking about the text, and daily discussions give the students a chance to further their understanding of the material.

Grammar & Essay Composition

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to construct paragraphs and essays that are unified around a single purpose. Lessons focus on identifying parts of speech, correcting grammar errors, appropriate word choice, logical organization, presenting detailed evidence, examples, and reasoning to support arguments. Writing assignments include definition paragraphs, process analysis, description, persuasion, and narration. In addition, 4 vocabulary quizzes and 4 grammar quizzes offer periodic checks that the students understand everything they are learning. Middle-school students who want to become better writers will flourish in this course.

Intensive Vocabulary Mastery

This is an in-depth approach to vocabulary in context. Students select one Western and one Eastern classic to read on their own as a source for new vocabulary. During the final class, each student presents a brief summary of their readings, as well as their newly-discovered words. The instructor photocopies every student’s findings for the rest of the class, so a larger class guarantees more new vocabulary! In class, lessons focus on vocabulary from carefully selected passages, and activities exploring synonyms, antonyms, and connotation. In addition to the final presentation, three hour-long tests measure each student’s progress. This course is…

Intro to Writing 2

This class hones reading and writing skills by examining English grammar, proper syntax, and figures of speech. Weekly vocabulary tests help students expand their lexicon and lay the foundation for more powerful writing. Lessons include: fragments, roots, sentence completion, basic passage-based reading, and contextual understanding. This course is geared towards middle-school students who want to cement their knowledge of basic sentence structure.

Natural Speaker Series

The Natural Speaker Series is designed to help you face your fears about speaking in front of groups. Teach you how to structure: an impromptu persuasive speech, a formal presentation, and a university or work interview and personal resume.
Perfecting Grammar and Style

This class focuses on the fine points of effective writing: active vs. passive voice, brevity, coordinating and subordinating clauses, introductions, transitions, conclusions, conditions, and prepositions. In addition, it explores how carefully selected adverbs, adjectives, grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary can bolster an argument. We built this course for students in honors English classes who “just couldn’t get” some of the details. What’s a gerund? Why shouldn’t I use prepositional phrases? Is “good” a regular or irregular adjective? Can you explain faulty predication? PG&S answers all of these questions. Students should take this class if they feel like they need help writing…

Vocabulary Foundations

This class uses the text Build Your Power Vocabulary (BYPV) by Random House to introduce the concept of “root words.” Lessons begin on Latin and Greek roots, then move on to learning words through historical meaning, understanding words from their context, and studying words borrowed from other languages. Students will need their own dictionary and a thesaurus that they can use in class and at home. Two hour-long tests give students an opportunity to see how much they have learned. This course is geared towards 8th grade students who want to strengthen their vocabulary to prepare for high school.

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