Arts & Humanities


The faculty in the English department help students develop strong writing, speaking, and analytical skills that are critical to their success in college and in a highly competitive job market. To achieve this, faculty members utilize important and diverse literature from around the world and across the centuries. 
The sequential nature of the program, which stresses vocabulary development, correct sentence syntax, grammar, clarity, organization and analysis equips students with the tools they need to communicate in written and spoken language in a clear, original, and persuasive manner. Along the way, students increase their appreciation for good writing, storytelling and the complexity and beauty of human nature. 
Bishop offers Honors or Advanced Placement courses at every grade level, which include AP English Language and Composition as well as AP English Literature and Composition.
Electives within the English Department include Research and Writing, and Creative Writing
Summer reading is required prior to the start of each school year.

List of 8 items.

  • Literature and Composition I

    Two Semesters: Grade 9
    PREREQUISITE: Departmental Approval
    This literature intensive course introduces students to various genres of literature, writing skills, and vocabulary. It includes a multi-week writing program in which students learn paragraph development, thesis development, critical essay skills, and peer editing. Students engage in high-level literary analysis, and additional reading is required.
  • (H) English 9

    Two Semesters: Grade 9
    PREREQUISITE: Departmental Approval
    This course covers the material taught in Literature and Composition I in greater depth and detail and demands more precision from students.  Additional reading is required.  Placement in (H) English 9 is determined following a review of scores on the BD Placement Exam.
  • Literature & Composition II

    PREREQUISITE: Departmental Approval
    This literature-intensive course continues to expose students to various genres of literature, writing skills, and vocabulary. Students engage in high-level literary analysis, and additional reading is required.
  • (H) English 10

    Two Semesters: Grade 10
    PREREQUISITE: Departmental Approval
    This course aims to prepare students for AP English Language and Composition and AP English Literature and Composition by developing their ability to analyze, synthesize, and criticize complex literary themes rhetorical devices and to communicate them in various writing assignments. Examples of the literature read may include Grapes of Wrath, Macbeth, Oedipus Rex, Scarlet Letter, Bless Me, Ultima, and more. Students will be expected to demonstrate a high level of critical thinking through the writing of literary essays, oral presentations, group projects, class discussions, etc. The reading and writing requirements are more strenuous than the College Prep English 10 and demand more precision from the students.
  • American Literature

    Two Semesters: Grade 11
    This intensive reading and writing course focuses on the American literary experience. It explores the development of American thought as evidenced through the works of Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau. Morrison, Sinclair, Fitzgerald, Williams and more. Students are expected to read independently and participate in class discussions. Various modes of expository and creative writing are explored, with an emphasis on clarity of syntax in expression. Refined technique in critical essays is a fundamental part of this course as are oral presentations and the continued study of vocabulary. Students are expected to attend a related cultural event outside the classroom.
  • British & World Literature

    Two Semesters: Grade 12
    This course covers a combination of thematic international literary selections of various genres and a corresponding writing process, both directed at exploring values, ideas, and ideals similar to and different from our own.  Consideration is also given to the literary quality of the works discussed.  The course focuses on both similarities and differences between English and other literature.  Composition consists of formal thematic writing in response to the literature as well as personal exploration through writing.  Students will read selections from Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Hugo, Shakespeare, Austen and more.
  • AP English Language and Composition

    Two Semesters:  Grade 11
    PREREQUISITE: Departmental Approval
    As described by the College Board, this college level course focuses on critical reading and skilled writing to prepare students for all areas of college course work and in their professional lives. Students will become aware of author’s purpose, audience, and conventions of language that contribute to effective writing and communication. This is achieved through examination of and response to non-fiction and fiction works in the American literary canon.  Students will prepare throughout the year for the AP exam in May. Works include but are not limited to:  How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas Foster; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; The Awakening, by Kate Chopin; The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald; and Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison.
  • AP English Literature and Composition

    Two Semesters: Grade 12
    PREREQUISITE: Departmental Approval
    AP English provides an opportunity for highly motivated students with exceptional ability in English to fulfill requirements for their senior year while completing college-level work.  The class emphasizes critical reading and analysis of literature, including:  two summer reading selections, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Illych, The Book of Job, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Wolff’s Mrs. Dalloway, a poetry unit that includes ancient through contemporary poems, and a pre-approved free reading book of appropriate literary merit.  Composition includes in-depth literary analysis, guided reading responses, critical theory projects, timed writings taken from past AP tests, and essay tests. Students are required to attend at least one cultural event during the school year.  

List of 1 items.

  • Titles commonly taught

    Of Mice and Men                                Romeo and Juliet 
    Tale of Two CitiesFrankenstein
    Jane EyreThe Kiterunner
    Grapes of WrathMacbeth
    The Scarlet LetterThe Great Gatsby               
    A Streetcar Named DesireThe Things They Carried
    The History of LoveThe Awakening
    The CrucibleBilly Budd
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn                 The Odyssey
    How to Read Literature Like a ProfessorCatcher in the Rye
    Tess of the D’UrbervillesHamlet
    Pride and PrejudiceCrime and Punishment
    Woman WarriorCanterbury Tales
    NightMrs. Dalloway
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