The Scarsdale Middle School English program promotes a sequential study of literature, composition, critical thinking, and speech which is designed for the middle school student. The teaching of these components is integrated and crosses the curriculum.
The objectives of the Literature Program are to instill a love of reading, to develop vocabulary, comprehension and analytical skills, and to expose students to a wide variety of good literature. The Intensive Reading Unit fosters a love of reading through students exploring thematic connections among a number of high interest works selected from a range of reading levels. Independent Reading Assignments and use of the library support this objective throughout the year. Class study of major literary works provides guided practice in analysis through discussion and writing. Some titles include The Pearl, Johnny Tremain, Tom Sawyer, and Romeo and Juliet. The study of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction complements our program.
The Writing Program offers students a variety of writing experiences growing out of the study of literature: letter writing, creative writing, analytical writing, and journal writing. As students move through the grades, greater emphasis on expository writing prepares them for the High School. The department makes full use of the schoolâ€™s computer and library resources in the writing process. The teaching of grammar and its application to the mechanics of writing is sequentially organized. Concepts taught in sixth and seventh grade are reinforced in eighth grade. Instruction on spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and parts of speech increase editing and revising skills.
The aim of the Public Speaking Program is to provide students with experience in front of an audience. Through a three-week unit in each of the three grades, a sequence of speeches from one to five minutes in length emphasizes an informal delivery style to a class-size audience. In addition, students in grades 7 and 8 participate in an integrated Speech Contest unit which includes research, organization, and writing skills, and culminates in a more formal speech given by each student to his class. These students may enter the annual contest to compete on a school-wide level.