English Language Arts Department

Students throwing graduation hatsTempe Preparatory’s Language Arts program stresses an understanding and appreciation for proficiency with the English language and the varieties of its aesthetic expression.

The program places a continuing emphasis on the development of major language arts skills, including vocabulary, spelling, grammar and mechanics, composition, reading strategies, oral communication and literature.

Each course trains students to read independently and provides students with strategies to increase their comprehension of literature and literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades. The program challenges students to strengthen their vocabularies through increased word learning. Students also study approaches for determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative and technical meanings. Studies cover the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.

Students also broaden their composition skills by examining model essays with an in-depth study of sentence analysis, organization, structure and style. Students improve writing skills by reading and learning from poetry, short stories, novels, drama and nonfiction. Literary selections include the Great Books of the Western World. The literary works provide opportunities for strengthening students’ interpretive insights, inter-textual analysis, critical thinking skills and expository writing.

The language arts curriculum teaches learners how to express complex ideas and apply the knowledge they have learned for real life experiences.

Donate to the English Department


Jamison Gray – Modern Languages Department Chair




Students study the basics of grammar and composition, mastering the fundamentals of sentence structure to paragraph-level. Students will engage in group readings, as well as Socratic discussions of classic novels, including Adam of the Road, Old Yeller, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland, The Book of Three and a Wrinkle in Time.

This course provides a strong foundation in basic reading, writing, speaking, and listening, with attention given to the writing process, genre, style, audience and standard written English. Themes such as heroism and justice are encountered in Greek myths, and in stories such as Shane, The Hobbit, Little Women, The Miracle Worker, Treasure Island and The Tempest.

A continuation of the seventh grade literature and composition course, with emphasis on writing coherent paragraphs and well-organized longer essays, particularly the five paragraph essay form. Literature studied includes Beowulf, The Chosen, The Call of the Wild, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, The Lord of the Flies and Macbeth.
A study and analysis of the major American poets and lyrical voice of the colonial period through 1960. Focuses primarily on writing in iambic pentameter. Exercises include readings, seminar discussions, individual instruction and critiques in practicum-based setting. The format of this course also combines lectures on historical and technical aspects of poetry, as well as student recitations/presentations.
Covers British poetry from Shakespeare and Spenser to Wordsworth and Dylan Thomas. Revolving topics in the study of language, tone and structure of poetry at the advanced level. Designed to acquaint students with the complexities of poetic constructions, specifically iambs, trochees, spondees, anapests and dactyls. Combines lectures on historical and technical aspects of poetry, seminar discussions of great poems, individual instruction in writing poetry and student recitations/presentations. Students will write original poetry, with emphasis on sonnets in iambic pentameter