The English Department at Randolph-Macon Academy is dedicated to fostering critical reading, analytical thinking, and clear writing skills among our students. By studying literature from various periods, regions, and genres, we strive to equip students with the tools necessary to succeed academically and professionally. We focus on developing expertise in communication in all its forms and cultivating a deep appreciation for the complexities of language and storytelling.

Our mission is to prepare students for future academic success by introducing them to critical reading and literary analysis while establishing a strong foundation for expressing their ideas clearly and persuasively through written and oral communication. We strive to enhance students’ enjoyment and appreciation of literature in its diverse forms, nurturing their curiosity and encouraging them to question, explore, and engage with the world around them. Through the guidance of our dedicated English teachers, students are challenged to think critically, communicate effectively, and embrace the transformative power of language and storytelling in both their academic and personal lives.

English 9:
English 9 provides a comprehensive exploration of language and literature. This course is designed to enhance students’ reading, writing, and communication skills while fostering an appreciation for diverse literary genres and cultural perspectives. Students will analyze a variety of literary texts including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to develop critical reading skills as well as explore plot structure, character development, and literary elements. Students will develop and refine writing skills in expository, reflective, and analytical paragraphs and essays with a focus on organization, structure, topic development, and mechanics of writing. Students will participate in group discussions and presentations throughout the year to develop effective communication skills. Moreover, students will engage in research skills that focus on gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing information from diverse sources culminating in a research presentation. Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 8.

English 9 Honors – The Hero’s Journey:
In this 9th-grade English Honors course, students will embark on a literary adventure through the captivating theme of “The Hero’s Journey,” addressing the overall question of how this archetype reflects and shapes cultural values, human experiences, and the question of personal growth. This course is designed not only to enhance students’ understanding of classic and contemporary literature but also to cultivate critical skills in reading, writing, and research. Students will analyze classic and modern texts, developing advanced comprehension skills in identifying complex narratives and exploring the cultural and historical contexts of hero narratives. Moreover, they will evaluate and critique the development of plot structures and characters. Students will hone their writing skills in expository and analytical writing, encouraging them to experiment with their voice, style, and perspectives. Furthermore, students will be encouraged to think critically and outside conventional literary boundaries. They will participate in group discussions and projects that require effective communication and teamwork. Lastly, students will refine their research skills, including understanding academic integrity in research, utilizing and evaluating digital tools for research, and synthesizing information from diverse sources into well-supported arguments and analysis, culminating in a short research essay. Prerequisite: A- or better in English 8 or teacher recommendation

English 10:
English 10 prepares students for high school and college success with a comprehensive college-preparatory reading and composition curriculum. Students develop the skills to write literary analysis, argumentation, and a personal narrative. Creative writing is developed through modeling themes and techniques from literature. Projects in the first and fourth quarters strengthen research and citation techniques in MLA format. Students will read a variety of short stories, novels, plays, and poems in this course. Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 9.

English 10 Honors – Science Fiction Frontiers:
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, authors have expressed their hopes and anxieties about a rapidly changing world through science fiction. Examining these works can reveal the social and literary climate of when the books were written, as well as offer new perspectives on our futures. Honors English 10 uses fiction and non-fiction sources to explore how writers have conceived of the future from the Romantic era into the modern day. Prerequisite: A – or better in previous year’s English class or teacher recommendation.

English 11 Literature:
Grade 11 Literature will discuss the short story, poetry, and drama that are part of the American Canon with an emphasis on the American experience from multiple perspectives. There will be an emphasis on academic writing to express opinions and analyze the various works studied. Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 10.

English 11 Honors – Dramatic Voices:
Dramatic Voices will ask the overarching question – what makes someone a good person? How does a student/author/citizen find their voice? Although there will be an emphasis on American authors and literature, there will also be pieces taken from other civilizations and other eras. This class will take the dramatic route with most tests being performances – those who choose this class will be part of the spring production. We will also have some creative writing of stories and a one-act play. Prerequisite: A – or better in previous year’s English class or teacher recommendation.

AP English Language and Composition:
In AP English Language and Composition, students learn about the elements of argument and composition as they develop their critical reading and writing skills. Students read and analyze nonfiction works from various periods and write essays with different aims: for example, to explain an idea, argue a point, or persuade a reader of something. Along with preparation for the AP exam, students will explore and analyze a wide variety of text, music, images, and art. This course will be an in-depth look at how rhetoric shapes our lives. From advertisements to social media posts and news articles, people are surrounded by rhetoric and they don’t always look at it with a critical eye. This class will prepare students for even the most rigorous classes in any university. Summer reading is a requirement of this class. Prerequisite: A – or better in previous year’s English class or Teacher recommendation.

AP Language and Composition:
AP English Literature and Composition prepares students for college-level literary analysis. Through studying a wide array of literary works including fiction, poetry, and drama from diverse periods and regions, students delve into the intricacies of literature. By closely reading and analyzing texts, students enhance their comprehension of literary elements such as character development, setting, narrative structure, point of view, and figurative language. This in-depth exploration fosters a deeper appreciation for the artistry of language and the nuanced ways in which writers convey meaning and evoke emotions through their works. In this dynamic course, students engage in a variety of writing tasks designed to hone their critical thinking and analytical skills. From crafting expository pieces to composing persuasive essays, students are challenged to articulate their interpretations and insights into the literary works they study. By delving into different writing styles and genres, students not only enhance their ability to construct coherent arguments but also refine their capacity to communicate effectively through the written word. Prerequisites: A – or better in previous year’s English class or teacher recommendation.