Language Arts class teaches the development of skills in all forms of formal communication: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students read short stories, young adult novels, and mythology that is integrated with their history class. They discuss responses to their reading in Lit Circles and also write reflections and learn to form well-crafted paragraphs of several varieties. They further learn to build those paragraphs into more formal essays. Students learn to discuss without interrupting and how to speak to a group, confidently. They learn to revise and edit their written work. Throughout the year, critical thinking skills are emphasized as they learn to combine the cycle of listening, reading, writing, and speaking for specific purposes. Language Arts is a thematic and more creatively varied precursor to Upper School English.
English is taught every year, and 4 years of English are required for high school graduation. Students learn to take the skills taught in earlier grades and refine them, taking both their written work and their interpretation of literature several steps further. An increase in thoughtful analysis, critical thinking and skillfully addressed arguments are expected as a student moves through the program. Literature is chosen depending upon the year, the school-wide theme, the interests of the teacher, and the needs of the students. Expectations are individualized for each student’s ability and level. Most students completing 4 years of English at JCS should be well-prepared for the demands of college level reading and writing.