Boarding and Day · Co-ed College Prep · Grades 6–12 & Postgraduate · Hebron, Maine


Welcome to Hebron Academy's English Department! In Walden, Henry Thoreau writes, "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." In our English studies we strive to set foundations of reading, writing, and thinking for a future of scholarship. Through versatile approaches to subject matter, Hebron teachers encourage students to take active command of their own learning.  We recognize that students learn through independent and collaborative work. 

In small seminar classes students develop skills to evaluate writing through the study of literature representing diversity of culture and period. They respond to their reading by developing skills to speak and to write with an understanding of the relationship between speaker and audience, as well as the variety of modes of discourse possible to define that relationship. They are challenged to listen supportively, accurately, and critically to the perceptions of others, which fundamentally alter and enlarge personal responses to the world. They are supported in their endeavors to think personally, deeply, and creatively about themselves and the world of which they are a part.

All English courses are writing-intensive; daily assignments help students to gain the flexibility to articulate and shape their impressions and observations in a variety of essay forms. In a four-year progression, students will move from short narrative, expository, and analytical essays to more advanced explorations of voice, structure, and genre.  All courses are three terms, reflecting our belief that teenagers learn best from teachers who know them well. Honors-level courses are offered from ten to twelfth grades; selection for these courses is based on grades, interest, and teacher recommendations. AP Literature & Composition is offered to seniors and post-graduates; post-graduate students may elect Postgraduate English. In preparation for their entry into English courses, international students may be placed in ESL foundation courses, according to their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.


This skills-based course is designed for students whose native language is other than English but who already have a firm foundation in the English language. Course work will increase student skills and confidence in the areas of academic reading,writing, listening and speaking. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how the English language works and more clarity in their language through studying grammar, vocabulary, composition, and a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts. Students will learn the formats, structures, and vocabulary for academic writing genres such as essays, research papers, reports,summaries, poetries, and short stories. They will also gain experience in formal oral presentations and speaking in a group setting.


This junior-level course increasingly emphasizes close critical reading within the context of American Literature. Students explore a variety of voices and perspectives as they consider what it means to be an American. Students’ essays are longer and more complex, occasionally utilizing more than one primary and secondary source. Exercises in public speaking are integral parts of the course. Readings include short fiction, novels, essays, poetry, and contemporary drama. Texts include works by authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Arthur Miller, Tim O’Brien, and August Wilson.


This course offers juniors an intensive study of American literature in the contexts of American historical and cultural development. Selections range from early political and

persuasive essays, to contemporary poems, drama, short stories and novels. Students will analyze and interpret literature as well as to study trends and changing perspectives. Writing assignments stress principles of unity, coherence, and full development of ideas. This course complements studies undertaken by the Advanced Placement U.S. History and American History courses. Texts currently include works by Hawthorne, Miller, Emerson, Morrison, Crane, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, O’Brien, and McCarthy. Departmental approval is required for admittance to this course.


As the foundational pre-collegiate English literature class for seniors, British Literature aims to examine a broad selection of important British works, especially classic writings dating back to Beowulf, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare. Additional texts include works by Oscar Wilde and Mary Shelley. The course also emphasizes a preparedness for college-level writing and study. Students will learn how to write essays, creative works, and research papers more effectively by exploring a variety of composition techniques. Moreover, the class aims to serve a broader purpose of encouraging students to develop empathy for those of other backgrounds, as emphasized with the homelessness research paper and study unit using Teun Voeten's work Tunnel People.


World Fiction, Poetry and Drama:  The study of comparative literature means, in a broad sense, reading works by authors from different backgrounds, from different time periods, and in different genres, all while looking at themes, arguments, and literary styles that cross all of these categories. In this rigorous course, students move through the reading list of short stories, novels, and plays by examining groups of texts that go together in some way, such as fairy tales from various cultures or novels with strong female protagonists. Throughout the year, students also write in a variety of genres, including analytical essays and creative projects. Texts have included The Handmaid’s TaleThe HoursKing LearMrs. Dalloway, and Station Eleven. Enrollment in this course requires departmental approval.


This skills-based course is designed for students whose native language is other than English and are at the beginning to early stages of proficiency. Course work will increase student skills and confidence in the areas of grammar, academic reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will apply these skills during academic tasks such as note taking, presenting information, discussing in groups, reading, and writing for a variety of purposes. Students will learn the formats, structures, and vocabulary for academic writing such as essays, research papers, critiques, and summaries. In addition, students will practice their speaking and listening skills, both formally and informally. Individualized pronunciation practice is incorporated to improve student intelligibility and confidence when speaking.


Modern Storytelling highlights the various mediums in which stories are communicated, including traditional literary genres but moving beyond those as well. Students discuss and analyze music, films, graphic novels, and poetry while crafting their own creative works. The most significant texts in the course include Alan Moore's masterful Watchmen and a comparison study of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes with a variety of Holmes adaptations, including the BBC's modernized series—and even Batman. Students create their own graphic novels, podcasts, short stories, and other creative pieces as they deepen their understanding of how stories can be told. This course is well suited for students who are passionate about literature and the humanities.


This writing-intensive literature course is designed to prepare postgraduates for the demands of college-level work. Students read such authors as O'Brien and Krakauer, with particular focus on their personal narrative in the context of examining cultural experience. This leads to the development of a college essay and greater self-identity. Students write every day in a variety of formats, including narration, analysis, exposition, and persuasion. As the year progresses, students move toward more independent work, including the completion of a large dissertation. Classes are seminar-style, and students are expected to participate in an informed way. Public speaking skills are further developed through class presentations, personal interviews, and critical analysis through discussions. 


Sophomores review elementary literary concepts while exploring the genres of romance, tragedy, and comedy in world fiction, poetry and drama. Students write every day in a variety of formats, developing their voices, learning how to select and use supporting details in coherent ways. In short essays, students explore various forms of exposition, personal narrative, analysis, and argumentation. Students often engage in cross-curricular explorations of world literature and history while gaining experience in public speaking through seminar discussion and presentations. Vocabulary building and grammar work are routine. World Literature authors currently include Erich Maria Remarque, Elie Wiesel, Sophocles, Roddy Doyle, Athol Fugard, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Shakespeare among others. 


In this more rigorous course, sophomores advance their critical reading and writing skills, working to develop their own voices through the exploration of more complex essay forms. Honors World Literature considers fiction, poetry, and drama from a variety of periods and locations, with particular focus on romance, tragedy, and comedy. Students gain experience in public speaking through seminar discussion and presentations; they write a variety of papers and poetic works. Vocabulary building and grammar work are routine. Honors World Literature authors currently include Oscar Wilde, Chinua Achebe, Erich Maria Remarque, John Rabe, and William ShakespeareDepartmental approval is required for admittance to this course.


Ninth grade history and English classes are taught collaboratively in combined and distinct classes. Students study the human achievements of three civilizations, China, Ancient Greece, and the European Renaissance. In English, they read deeply in a variety of genres, including T’ang poetry, Homer’s Odyssey, plays by Sophocles and Shakespeare, and modern Chinese fiction. Students actively participate in discussions with their peers to develop their understanding of text, and they write in a variety of forms (personal narratives, poetry, fiction, analysis) with emphasis on clarity, voice and detail. Students learn the skills of annotation, close reading and explication; they perform scenes, recite poetry and investigate topics for MLA research papers.


Advanced Placement Literature and Composition is a rigorous full-year course designed to fulfill the learning objectives outlined by the College Board and to prepare students to take the timed AP exam in the spring. Students are expected to perform at a college-freshman level in terms of reading comprehension, reading pace, written expression, and familiarity with literary elements and terms. Students will explore American and British literature in a variety of genres—drama, poetry, short stories, and novels—and from literary periods from the Renaissance through contemporary.  The course theme of “Allusion, Influence, and Adaptation” will attune students to issues of intertextuality—that is, the way authors and works echo, respond to, and playfully engage with other works across literature. As they read, write, and discuss throughout the course, students' ultimate goal will be to become more attentive to the power and beauty of literature, its relevance to students' lives, and the value of participating in a literary community.