The English department at Linden Hall is dedicated to bringing the world to our students through literature. We read and analyze classic and contemporary literature from around the world. We believe that the more students read and write, the more they will empathize and think critically.

Students' work in literature courses is informed by cross-curricular study in other academic areas: history, the arts, math, and science. Through interdisciplinary study, students understand how genre, history, form, and content influence and impact one another. At each grade level, students engage in both short-term and in-depth, long-term writing assignments. Our students become more successful communicators through reflective, analytical, expository, and creative writing.

The English Department also emphasizes oral communication skills. At each level, students participate in age-appropriate group work and class discussion. Students regularly give presentations and speeches in English classes.

Student speeches are the capstone of the English department's speaking and listening instruction. Each 10th, 11th, and 12th grade student gives an annual speech to the Linden Hall community. Speeches are 2-5 minutes long and reflect student passions, opinions, and experiences. In addition to giving students authentic public speaking experience, school speeches provide a platform for students to share their opinions, perspectives, and advice. Parents may attend their daughters' speech, or request a video of a speech by contacting the English department ahead of time.

Juniors and seniors take ownership of their learning in English by selecting elective courses that appeal to their interests and develop their talents. These courses offer deep analysis in specific areas of focus within the discipline, allowing students to explore topics that ignite their passion for literature.

2018-19 Courses

  • English 6
  • English 7
  • English 8
  • Ancient World Literature
  • Honors Humanities English
  • Modern World Literature
  • Honors Modern World Literature
  • Writing Seminar (elective)
  • American Voices (elective for juniors and seniors) - Who is an American? Which voices and experiences are quintessentially American? To what extent are certain American voices silenced? Girls enrolled in American Voices will gain knowledge of major traditions of American literature and gain an appreciation for the diversity of literary and social voices within–and sometimes marginalized by–those traditions. Students will develop the ability to read texts in relation to their historical, cultural, and social contexts to gain a richer understanding of both text and context. Units covered may include (but are not limited to) Native American literature, banned books, literature of the Harlem Renaissance, and literature of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Image and Word (elective for juniors and seniors) - Image and Word focuses on the relationship between the arts and literature through the study of film and graphic novels. This course introduces students to the basics of film analysis, including theoretical, historical, and critical approaches to films. Analysis of graphic novels focuses on the study of visual literacy and visual rhetoric. Image and Word sharpens students’ analytical skills; students critique the ways images and words work to communicate with and manipulate audiences. Skills of research and writing are honed through analytical, creative, and reflective assignments. Speaking and listening skills are reinforced through discussion, the school speech, and creative audiovisual projects.
  • Journalism (elective for juniors and seniors) - This course focuses on the academic study of journalism. Skills of research and writing are honed through journalistic writing projects. Speaking and listening skills are reinforced through discussion, the school speech, study of interview techniques, and audiovisual journalism projects. Texts read as part of the course are nonfiction and include narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and articles from periodicals. Topics covered throughout the course include: freedom of speech, journalism ethics, and how to assess the reliability of nonfiction writing. The course is recommended for girls interested in current events, investigation, and writing. The course involves guest speakers, exploration of primary sources in the Linden Hall archives, and lively class discussions.
  • Plays and Playwriting (elective for juniors and seniors) - Plays and Playwriting has two essential goals as a course: first, to increase student exposure to and understanding of dramatic literature as form, genre, and historical phenomenon; and second, to give students the tools, opportunities, and skills needed to write, revise, and evaluate their own dramatic scripts. Throughout the year, students examine several plays, both ancient and modern, exploring the literary merits of the pieces and their contributions to the development of world drama. Students also look at model scripts, participate in creative exercises, and practice collaborative feedback and evaluation of their own pieces. Assignments for this course are an even blend of analytical, creative, and reflective assignments.
  • Poetry, Verse, and Lyric (elective for juniors and seniors) - Poetry, Verse, and Lyric increases students’ exposure to and comprehension of poetry, both in literature and in life. Students read a broad spectrum of published poems from a diverse range of authors, explore the ways in which poetry challenges individuals and societies, and examine historical contexts and movements which have influenced poets across time periods and cultures. Students who take this course approach the discipline as readers and writers, making active use of their imaginations and numerous poetic forms and techniques. The course is centered around discussion, collaboration, and workshop-style writing sessions and will feature an even blend of analytical, creative, and reflective assignments.
  • Women Who Write (elective for juniors and seniors) - Women Who Write is a women’s literature and creative writing course. The course focuses on women’s experiences and literary contributions. Recognizing that certain voices and stories routinely are underrepresented in high school English curriculums, particular attention is paid to selecting fiction and nonfiction texts that reflect the diverse experiences of women of many cultures and times. The study of texts will include describing, analyzing, and interpreting structure and theme. Communication and critical thinking skills are honed through group discussions, public speaking opportunities, and writing assignments. Students write in many genres with a particular emphasis on honing creative writing skills.
  • AP English Language and Composition - AP Language students become skilled in the use and understanding of rhetoric and argument in a variety of contexts. This course focuses on analyzing non-fiction and argumentative texts from various time periods and disciplines. Students read and analyze academic sources, journalism, classical philosophy, creative non-fiction, movies, satire, and political cartoons, among other types of texts. Students practice a structured writing process to compose expository essays that engage the reader and execute nuanced arguments in formal and informal writing. Assessments include short and long-term writing projects as well as regular quizzes on vocabulary, rhetorical terms, and reading comprehension.

Honors and AP Information

Beginning in grade 9, students who earn a B+ or better average in the preceding class and are recommended by the department may be eligible for Honors or AP-level coursework.

AP Language and Composition and AP Literature and Composition are offered in alternating years, and are open to students in grades 11 and 12 who are recommended by the department.


The Echo, Linden Hall's literary magazine, is published annually in the spring and features student writing and visual art. Dating from 1897, the Echo is the oldest continually published women's literary magazine in the United States.