Developing an appreciation for literature and fictional characters helps us become thoughtful and engaged members of the global community who better understand and empathize with real people.
JAMES MOORE, ENGLISH DEPARTMENT CHAIR
Blair’s English department teaches students to read closely and perceptively, write clearly and incisively, and speak confidently and effectively, while helping them acquire a familiarity with and appreciation for English, American and world literature. We emphasize the development and practice of rhetorical skills, social awareness and empathy that will serve students well throughout their lives.
Students write regularly about themselves, their communities, and the characters and ideas they encounter in literature. Bolstered by regular exploration of grammar and rhetoric, they construct and revise essays, short stories, poetry and, as part of our focus on public speaking, scripts for The Blair Leadership Stories Project and the annual 10th- and 12th-grade public speaking contests. Twelfth-grade students may choose to spend the spring term in English 4 Capstone, which allows them to conceive, develop and present significant writing projects on topics of their choice.
Our reading lists provide grounding in important fundamental texts of the anglophone literary tradition and exposure to a diversity of voices, old and new. In the first three years, for example, all classes study Shakespeare and also more contemporary works. Recent English 4 electives have explored a range of narrower topics, including Homer’s The Odyssey, modern drama, the Harlem Renaissance, dystopian literature, and novels and the films they inspired.
- Filming Blair Leadership Stories in 9th & 12th grade
- Tenth- & 12th-grade public speaking contests
- Debate Team
- Book Club
- AP Literature critique & defense of Shakespeare essays
- Workshops with writers in residence
- All-school summer read
- Weekly student Chapel talks
- Weekly School Meeting announcements
- Literary magazine, Between the Lines
- Online student newspaper, The Oracle
- Blair yearbook, the ACTA