The objectives of the English department are the development of reading, writing, public speaking, and critical thinking skills in preparation for college and real life. The curriculum is based on mastery of the subject at a particular level. This is accomplished not by going over the material once, but rather by repetition, drill, and constant reinforcement. Students are presented with a wide array of literature in conjunction with the development of grammar skills and vocabulary.

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Available Courses

Items with (*) are electives

Grade 6 Courses

English 06: Language Arts

Sixth Grade Language Arts will be divided into two forty minute classes, both meeting every day. The courses will be subdivided into Grammar/Composition and Literature/Vocabulary Development. The basic elements of grammar are quickly related to the writing, which emphasizes sentence construction and writing paragraphs of description and narration, with a specific focus on the theme of “Tolerance.” Developing reading and vocabulary skills are important, as are opportunities for public speaking. All these skills complement the development of critical thinking skills necessary for success at Loyola.

English 06: Advanced Language Arts

This course instills a more intrinsic understanding of the fundamentals of grammar, writing, vocabulary and reading comprehension. Students will be required to construct more intricate essays, as well as identify such grammatical aspects as subordinate ideas, verbals, expository paragraphs, and the progressive tenses. Reading comprehension and vocabulary skills will be further developed through the use of higher level novels and various readings.

Grade 7 Courses

English 07: Introduction to Literature/ Composition

Each student in the seventh grade receives one period of Language Arts instruction daily. Grammar skills are further reinforced from sixth grade and connected to writing. The writing emphasizes more complex sentence development and composing paragraphs of description, narration, and exposition. Reading comprehension and critical thinking skills are developed by exposure to classical and modern literature in the forms of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction. The basic elements of literature are introduced. Public speaking skills and vocabulary development are further developed, with a specific focus on the theme of “Diversity.”

English 07: Advanced Language Arts

Advanced 7th Grade Language Arts will continue the effort to complete the three years of Middle School English in two years for the most able group of seventh graders. The course will cover advanced topics in 25 grammar, units from the eighth grade vocabulary book during the second semester, a greater number of writing assignments, and more in-depth discussion of literature.

Grade 8 Courses

English 08: Literature/ Composition

The student receives one period of Language Arts instruction daily. The study of grammar becomes more detailed as does the development of writing skills. Students demonstrate increased proficiency writing sentences and writing paragraphs of description, narration, exposition, and persuasion. The study of literature focuses on themes and genres of special appeal to adolescents. Vocabulary development occurs through the context of the literature and from a vocabulary book. Public speaking skills are related to the reading and research, with a specific focus on the theme of “Maturation.”

English 08: Advanced Language Arts

Advanced 8th Grade Language Arts is a class for our most able 8th graders. This course will focus on: 1) the complete mastery of all fundamental rules of grammar and punctuation; 2) reading comprehension skills at a minimum of a ninth grade reading level; 3) vocabulary development with the completion of all middle school vocabulary units, and the introduction of ninth grade vocabulary words; 4) single-paragraph composition mastery with an introduction to the 3-5 paragraph essay. With successful completion of this class and recommendation of the 8th grade instructor, it is our hope that these students will be prepared for the English I Honors curriculum in the Upper School.

8th Grade Online Journalism

This is an elective course. The 8th grade journalism course investigates newspaper, magazine, and online journalism. Students write for publication in a class blog, and they contribute to the Middle School newspaper. In addition to collecting and editing newsworthy content, they learn direct and factual writing skills that do not involve interpretation. They produce newsletters, flyers, and web pages. This class also includes a basic understanding of MS Excel and MS Publisher.

Available Courses

Items with (*) are electives

English I

English I

This course is designed to provide the foundation for essential skills: grammar comprehension and mastery; composition skills in four modes; reading comprehension and vocabulary development. The reading comprehension section of the course is designed to familiarize the student with the four major literary genres: fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry. As the course progresses, the student is expected to improve his reading comprehension, reading pace, and both his general and literary vocabulary. The student will practice writing single-paragraph, focused compositions in the modes of formal English essays including descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive essays. The student will learn to write a thematic paragraph, one that offers a brief thesis or argument and then defends the statement with textual evidence. The student will learn the foundations of parenthetical textual citation. By year’s end the student is expected to identify, define, and explain major literary terms and concepts. He is expected to have a basic and working comprehension of the tenets of a linear narrative. Over the course of the year, the student develops an index-card, vocabulary library; the library consists of words from both his vocabulary text and his general readings. In addition to the readings in his textbook, the student will study five to seven literary selections.Initially, there is a heavy emphasis on mastery of the fundamental rules of grammar and punctuation within the formal English language. Students will study and master all the parts of speech and parts of sentences. The students will compose and diagram all four sentence structures. Additionally, each student will independently compose original sentences to match sentence formulas constructed by both the student and the teacher.

English I Honors

Each student takes one period of English each day. The emphasis is on mastering sentence and paragraph writing with an introduction to the multi-paragraph essay. Students learn to master writing effective sentences and paragraphs in all modes of discourse. Vocabulary is learned in context and by using a separate textbook. Literature is important, also. Various genres are read for understanding and some analysis. The aim is to develop the imagination and appreciation of the written word. Public speaking skills are developed through recitations and research.

English 10 Honors

English 10 Honors

This course is for a select group of ninth graders who have demonstrated a clear mastery of grammar, basic composition skills, and advanced reading comprehension skills. These students will be taking the Honors American Literature course that is taught in the sophomore year.

American Literature

American Literature Honors

Although similar in title and content to the college prep course, the honors student will use a different, more difficult text and explore in more depth the writers and themes of America. The writing concentrates on composing the traditional five-paragraph literary essay. Following this, the student will learn to compose a research paper of a literary nature.

American Experience

This course is designed to further develop the student’s writing ability in the multi-paragraph essay. The student also will be exposed to the themes and writers of American literature to increase his understanding and appreciation of literary and critical thinking skills.

British Literature

British Literature Honors

The British Literature course explores the universality of human experience as expressed in the literature of England from its beginnings in Anglo-Saxon poetry and epic through post World War II fiction. The course is designed to broaden the students’ awareness of the scope of English within our own American literary and cultural experience. The course provides for a close study of all literary forms as well as the process of development of those forms within a culture. During the year, the students read representative works, listen to recordings, and watch films. In addition, lectures and readings provide background into the history and culture of the periods and illustrate the content and purpose of the literature. Finally, extensive attention is given to student writing both in content and idea. Most of this is applied through essays assigned both in tests and as homework.

British Experience

This course will link themes together from a variety of eras within British Literature. The focus of the class will place an emphasis on reading comprehension, vocabulary development, and an appreciation for a variety of British selections. Additionally, there is a concerted effort to ensure the mastery of the 3-5 paragraph essay within the four modes of formal essay compositions: description, narration, exposition, and persuasion. Public speaking skills will also be honed through a plethora of opportunities, including but not exclusively, debates, Power Point presentations, and oral presentations of student criticisms.

Literary Criticism

Advanced Literary Criticism Honors

This course takes the student further into the realm of critical thinking and writing. In-depth analysis and understanding are required. Students are exposed to the great writings of the past and present from around the world. The student is expected to master the five-paragraph essay as well as the literary research paper. Critical Theories: Each student will be asked to be a critic of literature by utilizing a variety of genres (short story, poetry, novel, drama,essay). Students will use their own values to be critics, but they will also be challenged to use other critical “lenses” to discuss the literature. Within the first week of the first semester, the students will be introduced to critical theories/lenses, which they will use throughout both semesters of study.

Introduction to Literary Criticism

This course familiarizes the student with the genres of short story, novel, drama, and poetry on a more complex and critical level than previously experienced. Composition focuses on the writing of traditional and creative essays, in addition to writing a research paper of a literary nature. Vocabulary work continues, both from a textbook and from reading context. Also, each student is required to give a lengthy oral interpretation of a selected work of literature.

Creative Writing

Creative Writing Honors

Students must apply for this course after successful completion of British Literature. In this course, students try their hand with the four dominant genres of imaginative writing: poetry, short fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction. The course incorporates traditional classroom learning around the creative-writing workshop, which is based upon peer review and revision. Students first learn workshop methodology and procedure. The four units of study are divided by quarter. After analyzing major representative texts, models, and techniques, students then compose their own texts for workshop. Workshopped texts are collected in an annual, digital literary magazine, produced in conjunction with digital media. Students are responsible for production and online publication of the collection. By course's end, each student will generate a creative-writing portfolio. Vocabulary work continues throughout the year.

Shakespearean Literature

Shakespearean Literature

This course will examine a group of Shakespeare's plays in relation to various available film and theater productions. Students will begin each unit by reading a play and considering the text both as a work of literature in its own right and as the blueprint for a theatrical production. Then, having viewed one or more film or stage productions of the play, students will be asked to consider the interpretive impact of significant choices made by the director, actors, and designers; likewise, students will also be asked to consider what choices they themselves might have made in those same roles. Other topics discussed will include the following: the historical and biographical contexts of Shakespeare's plays and the relevance of those contexts; the grouping of the plays under various labels (History, Comedy, Tragedy, Problem Plays); dramatic conventions and techniques used in the plays; and Shakespeare's impact on our own 21st century culture.

AP Courses

AP English: Language and Composition

Entrance is with an "A" average and recommendation of teacher. This is a traditional university-level Freshman Composition course taught primarily to seniors at Loyola Blakefield. Occasionally, a very gifted junior is allowed to register for the course. The course emphasizes the writing of essays in various rhetorical modes on the basis of samples drawn from a variety of fields and periods. The course employs a good deal of modeling – the use of successful essays composed by previous students to provide guidelines for a particular assignment. This course prepares the student for the Advanced Placement examination, which tests general skills in expository and persuasive writing. All students who take the course must sit for the examination.

AP English: Literature and Composition

Entrance is with an "A" average and recommendation of the teacher. This course is designed to help the student prepare for the Advanced Placement Literature examination. It is designed for the student who is able to read and discuss works of literature and is able to write effectively about the literary techniques demonstrated in the works. During the year the student will study several genres. The primary genre, however, is poetry. At least half of the advanced placement exam deals with the student's ability to understand and analyze difficult poetry. Of course besides poetry, novels and dramas will be read. The main focus will always be on the student's ability to analyze literature independently. It is important that the course remain student-centered as much as possible.



Department Chair

Sean D. Flanigan
B.A., Loyola University Maryland; M.F.A., The Ohio State University



Christian Anderson (2014)


Raymond M. Brown
B.A., University of Virginia; M.M.S., Loyola University Maryland

Jane Donovan
B.A., Loyola University Maryland; M.A., Morgan State University

Vincent Fitzpatrick, III
(1979) B.A., University of Virginia; M.A., Ph.D., S.U.N.Y. (Stony Brook)

Lloyd D. George, S.J. (1967)
B.A., M.A., Fordham; M.Div., Woodstock

Michael T. Keeney
B.A., Belmont Abbey College; M.Ed., Goucher College

Julius Lobo (201

Janet A. McKinley
B.S., University of Findlay

Patricia A. O’Hara
B.S., M.Ed., Towson University; M.M.S., Loyola University Maryland

Sally F. Waller
B.A., M.B.A., M.A., Loyola University Maryland