English New Hampshire - Tilton School


The Tilton School English Department understands that we all acquire and hone language skills at different rates, and in different ways. We are motivated to developing critical thinking and communication skills at each student’s pace. Through reading a variety of texts, and by participating in different expressive projects, students cultivate improved skills in English necessary for future endeavors. 

The English Department invites students to engage in a range of experiences in close and sustained reading, and a wide array of writing and performance projects to help them develop essential skills. In addition, at every level, students can opt to engage in more advanced and/or additional projects to earn “honors distinction.

English Core Curriculum

Identity and Discourse — Exploration of Self Through Literature 

This course is designed to build student capacity in the Five Essential Skills, with a particular focus on inquiry, communication and creation.  The course “anchors” student reading with the following texts: All American Boys, American Born Chinese, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Julius Caesar, The Bluest Eye, and The Merchant of Venice. The course encourages students to ask questions about characters, their conflicts and the thematic understanding emerging from these conflicts.  Further students will reflect upon such questions as “Who am I becoming?” “How do I know?” and “What changes do you want to make in the world?” The course emphasizes writing and public speaking in clear and effective sentences and well-developed and polished argumentation, reflection, and poetry.  Finally, the course encourages technical precision in punctuation, diction and syntax.

Honors Texts:  Students may choose to read additional text for “Honors Designation” and present their understanding of these texts to their class in April.  



Angels & Monsters Within — Advanced Study in Literature & Composition 

This course deepens the students’ exploration of self by probing the question of “good and evil.”  Reading literary texts from ancient to Greece, through the Renaissance and into the contemporary periods, students will continue to hone their close-reading, composition, and public speaking skills.  Ultimately, students will develop their own understanding of living a “good” life through a year-long examination of collective and personal morality and ethics through a close study of literature’s most iconic angels and monsters.   

Learners in this course will develop Tilton’s Five Essential Skills through a year-long conversation with the voices and texts of the Americas. Together, we will have conversations with writers from the Americas through their works; we will have conversations with each other through our own creative and critical expression; most centrally, through reading, writing, speaking, and listening we will have conversations about American experiences and identities, deepening our own understanding of the complex identities of the Americas. This course dives into canonical and contemporary texts and provides opportunities for students to develop their skills with language, both written and spoken, through various modes that range from exploratory and reflective, to expository and argumentative. Students who demonstrate advanced mastery of these skills, along with exceptional Habits of Mind, may earn an Honors distinction.

This course broadens the student’s understanding of his or her place in a complex, culturally diverse world. Through the language and backgrounds found in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama from around the globe, students examine the development of universal codes and unique perspectives. Using historical contexts and an interdisciplinary approach, students develop their understanding of this material and gauge their own involvement through argument, exposition, and presentation modes of discourse. Students who choose the “honors” option for this course will have additional responsibilities to convey a deeper skillset.

Electives and Alternatives

Please Note: Electives and Alternatives are based on student interest, and some courses may not be offered in a given year.

The Workshop invites students who wish to create and share original works of memoir, poetry and fiction.  

1st Trimester — Memoir 

2nd Trimester — Poetry

3rd Trimester — Fiction

Students may enroll in any one or all of the trimester courses in creative writing.  

This course helps students refine their reading and writing for college success and civic engagement. As curious, critical, and responsive readers of mostly nonfiction, this course requires students to be flexible, reflective responders with audience and purpose in mind. Learning to identify and to analyze rhetorical modes and literary devices, students discover a writer’s intentions to elicit a reader’s response to a particular situation. Context is crucial, and students work to polish their own understanding of formal and informal written and spoken language.

Students who choose the AP option will have “Advanced Placement English Language and Composition” on their transcript and must take the spring AP exam.

All students will create pathways for deep, purposeful, self-directed learning, fueling lifelong discovery, creativity, and growth, unleashing the skills, passion, and courage to address the world’s most challenging problems.

This course encourages critical and responsive reading of fiction, poetry, and drama. Learning to identify and to analyze literary devices within unique genres, students discover a writer’s thematic and emotional intention and connect these intentions to contemporary politics at home and around the world. Context is crucial, and students work to polish their own understanding of cultural perspectives and of formal written and spoken language. Students who choose the AP option will have “Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition” on their transcript and must take the spring AP national exam. All students will create pathways for deep, purposeful, self-directed learning.  

This course is designed to provide students with the journalism skills and the ability to apply those skills to the actual production of the yearbook. Units of study include teamwork, responsibility, brainstorming, content, coverage, concept, reporting, writing, headlines, captions, editing, photography, typography, design, graphics, finances, yearbook campaigns, advertising and distribution. This course is an introduction to the basic elements of visual communication and the print world. Fundamental skills such as learning how to use photography to document events, reporting, and writing and design will be the foundation of this course.  In partnership with Josten’s Yearbook Company, the course will cover all of the areas listed above which are in line with the Mastery Approach. 

In this introductory course, students will learn how words can influence and create connections. Students will begin to develop their ability to captivate, inspire and persuade audiences with confidence and clarity. Throughout the course fundamental principles of effective oral communication will be explored. Through compelling narratives and effective use of body language, students will learn how to engage, influence, and inspire with the spoken word.

Introduction to Debate will extend students’ skills in critical thinking and argumentation, and familiarize them with the process of deliberative decision making in a democratic society. By honing students’ skills in research, reading, writing, speaking and listening, they prepare themselves for a culminating debate performance at the end of the trimester.