The English curriculum at Vermont Commons School is integrated: students concurrently read literature, write creatively and analytically, and study grammar and the mechanics of writing. In addition to developing students’ critical thinking and writing skills, our courses aim to improve their public speaking abilities.
The literature that students study is organized by themes that reflect and explore relationships between people and their environment. Students read canonical and contemporary texts from a variety of genres (novels, essays, plays, short stories, and poetry), and from a variety of cultures and perspectives. While reading a text, students write journal entries and analytical responses, as well as craft a creative piece of writing that is similar in genre or theme. Several times during the semester, students receive feedback from their peers and their teachers in a guided workshop format. In the spring semester, students share an excerpt from their work at the Evening of Student Readings. With the guidance of student editors, the English department also publishes Uncommon, a literary magazine that showcases the students’ best writing from throughout the year.