Pennsylvania’s leading Catholic Day School for Boys, Grades 9-12

English

English

The objective of the English Department at La Salle is to inspire each student to develop a lifelong love of reading and to become critical thinkers and skilled communicators. The men and women in the English Department possess diverse points of view and wide-ranging interests and areas of academic expertise, from modern crime fiction to Renaissance classics, but each is dedicated to sharing his or her passion for reading with a critical eye and writing with precision and authenticity.   

 

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”  - Neil Gaiman, an English author

Our students learn close reading skills and develop an aesthetic appreciation of significant literature of various genres. Understanding the structural principles of literature, drama, and poetry is crucial to the development of organizational skills in composition, and the writing of both short informal pieces and longer formal essays further students’ critical analyses of the works.  Our students grow into confident writers through a comprehensive editing process and targeted feedback from their teachers.   

 Class discussion and student presentations advance the understanding of the works, improve students’ communication skills, and enhance their analytical thinking.  We help create well-rounded students who are capable of understanding and applying what they learn in class to other disciplines and to the outside world. Our students’ skills build upon one another each year, resulting in well-prepared, confident learners who are ready for the rigor of college courses and who have the skills necessary to excel at the university level – a “dream” come true. 

English Faculty

Mr. Alex Brown

Mr. Alex Brown

Michael Camusi

Michael Camusi

Mr. Matthew Derrick

Mr. Matthew Derrick

Mrs. Elizabeth Field

Mrs. Elizabeth Field

Mr. Gerard Hartey

Mr. Gerard Hartey

Mrs. Keri Hoffman

Mrs. Keri Hoffman

Mr. Christopher Holwick

Mr. Christopher Holwick

Mr. John  Janda

Mr. John Janda

Ms. Meredith Mariani

Ms. Meredith Mariani

Mr. Michael McCabe

Mr. Michael McCabe

Mr. John (Jack) Mills

Mr. John (Jack) Mills

Edward Molush

Mr. Michael O'Toole

Mr. Michael O'Toole

Mr. Anthony Resch

Mr. Anthony Resch

Mr. Michael Sabatino

Mr. Michael Sabatino

Ms. Cheryl Wolgamott

Ms. Cheryl Wolgamott

English Courses Offered

Introduction to Literature and Composition (Freshman Required)

The purpose of the freshman English course is to enhance and broaden reading, discussion, composition, and vocabulary skills. Students begin their journey to learn critical thinking skills by reading and close textual analyses of appropriate short stories, novels, plays, poetry, and essays. The writing program emphasizes the process of writing, stressing mastery of the concise expository paragraph as the essential component of the complete essay. Vocabulary enrichment comes through the discovery of words in the context of the readings as well as through exercises in a standard vocabulary text. Core works include: Of Mice and Men, Julius Caesar, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Odyssey, among others.

1 Credit/full year

Introduction to Literature and Composition (Y) - (Freshman Required)

Introduction to Literature and Composition (Y) is offered to freshmen who, based on the recommendation of the English department, would benefit from a modified course. The purpose and content of this course do not change from the course description above. This course is designed to enhance and broaden reading, discussion, composition, and vocabulary skills. However, adjustments to classroom pacing are made to aid the students’ learning.

Introduction to Literature and Composition Honors (Freshman Required)

A more intensive version of 310, this honors-level course accelerates the study of writing, while examining literature in a more rigorous and comprehensive manner. Core works include: Of Mice and Men, Julius Caesar, The Old Man and the Sea, Things Fall Apart, and The Odyssey, among others.

1 Credit/full year

American Literature and Composition (Sophomore Required)

The sophomore English course consists of reading and discussing important works of American Literature, refinement of the writing skills developed in the freshman year, and continued development of the formal essay. The literature study focuses on selected major American writers, including study of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama from the colonial era to the modern period. Writing assignments continue to develop in a holistic approach from the planning stages through drafting and revising, to the final essay. Such writings emphasize more selectively the formal elements of thesis paragraph, developing paragraphs, precise word and phrase selection, use of supportive examples, and a convincing conclusion. Vocabulary study evolves contextually from the readings, along with a formal vocabulary series. Core works include: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird/The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, and The Catcher in the Rye, among others.

1 Credit/full year

American Literature and Composition Honors (Sophomore Required)

A more intensive version of American Literature and Composition, this course accelerates the study of writing, while examining a larger volume of literature in a more rigorous and comprehensive manner. Core works include: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Into the Wild, and Twelve Years a Slave, among others.

1 Credit/full year

Rhetoric and British Literature (Junior Required)

The junior year is broken up into two distinct semesters. The first will include a rigorous study of rhetorical devices and strategies and will emphasize the study of various forms of non-fiction: the formal essay, biography, editorials, and satire. A special emphasis will be placed on critical reading and argumentative essay writing. The second part of the junior curriculum will be a survey of the British literary tradition with an emphasis on using the rhetorical skills developed in the first semester. Additionally, the skills associated with research papers are learned throughout the year in a variety of smaller, specifically focused assignments, using the school’s academic computer network. Core works include: The Tipping Point, Superfreakonomics, Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Frankenstein, and Gullivers Travels, among others.

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement English Language and Composition (Junior Elective)

This course combines the English 3 Rhetoric and British Literature course with Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, including preparation for the College Board Advanced Placement examination in English Language taken in late spring. First semester includes a rigorous study of rhetorical devices and strategies and emphasizes the study of various forms of non-fiction: the formal essay, biography, editorials, and satire. Special emphasis is placed on critical reading and essay writing, including rhetorical analysis, argumentative, and synthesis essays. The study of rhetoric and preparation for the Advanced Placement examination continues throughout the second semester and a survey of British Literature is added, including drama, novels, poetry, and essays by British writers. In addition, students write a research paper and work on college entrance essays. Core works include: The Tipping Point, Superfreakonomics, Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Frankenstein, and Gulliver’s Travels, among others.
Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May.
Prerequisite: Permission of Sophomore English teacher, AP English Language and Composition teacher and English Department.

1 Credit/full year

World Literature and Expository Writing (Senior Required)

This course revolves around the close and critical reading of, in-depth discourse on, and formal essay writing in response to world literature from a variety of eras and authors. The first semester focuses on classical and medieval works while the second semester moves from Shakespeare to major works of the twentieth century. Writing instruction continually reviews the basic elements of composition learned in the previous three years while moving the students toward a command of more sophisticated techniques and complex skills. Students write frequent analytical essays based on assigned literary texts and occasional informal personal essays. Core Works include: Greek Tragedies, The Infern, Hamlet, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The Stranger, and Dubliners, among others.

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition (Senior Elective)

The Advanced Placement English course is a more intensive version of the regular senior English class. As such, students study a greater number of works in more depth. Its aim is to broaden the students’ understanding and appreciation of the sophisticated themes and distinguishing stylistic differences in literature. The course is a preparation for the Advanced Placement examination in English Language and Literature. Core works include: Greek Tragedies, Hamlet, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The Stranger, and Dubliners, among others.
Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May.
Prerequisite: Permission of Junior English teacher, AP English teacher and English Department.

1 Credit/full year

Creative Writing I (Junior / Senior Elective)

This course offers students the opportunity to develop competence in the writing of fiction, poetry, and drama. All students in the course complete written assignments in these three genres and develop a substantial independent project in one of them. The course seeks to develop both aesthetic appreciation and accomplished performance in writing. Students also study related creative fields, including the fine arts, music, film, and computer multi-media. Publication is an important emphasis in the course.
Prerequisite: Sophomores and Juniors may apply with permission of instructor.

.5 Credit/semester

Creative Writing II (Senior Elective)

This workshop style course consists of engaging in critical discussion of student poetry or fiction and presenting written review of the work up for discussion. Other elements of the course include outside reading suggested by the instructor that could help shape the student’s work and editing of and hopeful publication in Gazebo.
Prerequisite: Creative Writing I and permission of the English Department.

.5 Credit/semester

American Crime Fiction (Junior/Senior Elective)

NOTE: This course will be offered on alternating years with Baseball in Literature in academic years beginning with an odd-numbered year. This course traces the development of the first hundred years of American crime/detective fiction, 1841-1941. The student will learn the origins of crime fiction and the common patterns, narrative form, and style within short stories, in one or two short novels, and in film noir. Crime fiction is filled with heroic characters and villains, intricate story lines, and moral dilemmas. Authors include Doyle, Poe, Hemingway, Christie, Hammett, and Chandler. These works are highly engaging while also promoting critical thinking and a lifelong love of reading.

Harlem Renaissance (Junior / Senior Elective)

NOTE: This course will be offered on alternating years with Classic and Renaissance Literature in academic years beginning with an even-numbered year.
This course, open to juniors and seniors, introduces students to the literature, history, and culture of the Harlem Renaissance. It includes works of fiction and non-fiction by representative Harlem Renaissance writers, including, but not limited to, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jesse Faucet, Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, Nella Larson, Countee Cullen, Zora Neal Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Wallace Thurman, and Walter White. In addition, each student researches and presents a topic that relates to the Harlem Renaissance.

.5 Credit/semester

Classic and Renaissance Literature (Junior / Senior Elective)

NOTE: This course will be offered on alternating years with Harlem Renaissance in academic years beginning with an odd-numbered year.
This English elective course will begin with ancient literature and conclude with several works of the Renaissance period. Major literary developments of ancient, medieval, and renaissance literature will be examined through the analysis of poetry, epic, mythology, historic narrative, and the development of narrative prose (novel). The course will question established notions of Hellenistic, Medieval, and Renaissance periods through close readings of works by Ovid, Homer, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Machiavelli.

.5 Credit/semester

Baseball in Literature (Junior / Senior Elective)

NOTE: This course will be offered on alternating years with Shakespeare in academic years beginning with an even-numbered year.
For more than a century, many of America’s greatest writers have used baseball as a means to examine American life. This one semester course will investigate the portrayal of baseball in literature and how that depiction serves as a mirror for and a lens to the national and human experiences. The course will utilize a variety of fiction and non-fiction literary forms to aid in the exploration of how baseball has served as a primary metaphor in the modern artistic response to a host of social and personal issues.

.5 Credit/semester

Public Speaking (Sophomore, Junior, Senior Elective)

This course is for the student who wants to acquire self-confidence and poise while developing formal oral communication skills. Emphasis is placed on speech structure, organization, research, and delivery required in public speaking. The student is encouraged to develop his own thoughts, feelings and personal attitudes into an effective message.

.5 Credit/semester

Advanced Public Speaking: Interpretation, Rhetoric, and Argumentation (Junior / Senior Elective)

This course is designed for the student looking to develop advanced public speaking skills. Specifically this course will concentrate on various techniques interpreting literature, the construction of sound arguments, recognition of logical fallacies, advanced persuasion techniques, and the refutation of arguments. Additional emphasis will be placed on both verbal and physical delivery skills. This course meets every other day for the entire school year.
Prerequisite: Approval by instructor required

.5 Credit/semester