The structure of the English curriculum at Anacapa School takes advantage of small class sizes, an atmosphere of community learning, and a spirit of cooperation among the students. Students read a wide variety of novels, short stories, poetry and drama while practicing active reading by annotating the text and identifying their own vocabulary. Additionally, the student’s questions and insights drive a variety of small group and whole class discussions, activities, and projects.
The lower school curriculum is organized in a two-year program. Seventh and eighth grade students are in the same class and help to choose the novels the class reads. This provides the students with a greater sense of ownership and helps to develop their love of literature. Students begin to learn analysis by studying character development, the elements of plot, figurative language, and theme through various texts. Their course of study in writing includes spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and experimentation with different modes of writing, including poetry and five paragraph essays.
The upper school program is organized in a four-year cycle. All high school students take the same course during the same year, so class sections are made up of students from all four grades. This allows the older students to serve as mentors and assist the younger students with their analytical and writing skills. The four major areas of study are British, American, Modern and World Literature. Students also learn about the social and cultural background of a text to recognize the connection between history and literature. Along with further developing analytical and close reading skills, the students continue to practice different modes of writing.
Anacapa also offers an Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition course. The college-level course is open to any student who wishes to take it with the understanding that this challenging course is geared toward preparing students to take the AP Exam in May. Each year’s offering is based in the texts studied by the other upper school students, but AP students study additional texts as well. There is also ample opportunity to practice the style of multiple choice questions and open-ended questions required by the AP Exam.