English Department

Summer Reading Assignments 2023

Spending time in the summer reading an additional title or two (along with some excellent poetry) will make you better prepared for honors and AP classes, college, and life as a fully realized human being.

The Written Word

A genuine writing program is a cumulative process. This continuous and inclusive writing program guarantees the best learning and most individualized instruction for all students.

The English Department of Helena School District #1 presents balanced instruction in reading, writing, speaking, and listening to enable students to be proficient readers, writers, and thinkers in today’s world.  Course content is guided by the Montana Common Core State Standards, and designed to prepare students for the challenges that lay ahead, whether college or career.

A district-wide Benchmark Writing Assessment is administered to all levels twice a year, to ensure continued growth as writers. The exception are the juniors, who in the spring take the ACT Plus Writing test, providing an evaluation of their writing as they prepare for their post-secondary endeavors.

Course Offerings

All Helena High School students will complete four years of English prior to graduation. The first two years will lay the groundwork for more focused studies in junior and senior years.

In freshman year, English I and Honors English I transition from Middle School to High School, and learn the importance of the course’s evaluative criteria: timely homework completion, class participation, papers, and tests.

In English II and Honors English II, students build the skills they will need for upper level English instruction, including additional reading, writing, research, and critical thinking skills.

In junior year, students may opt to take English III or AP English Language and Composition. English III features a chronological and/or thematic study of American literature from colonial times into the 20th century.  AP English Language and Composition is a rigorous and challenging course focused on rhetoric and requiring students to read and write at the college level in preparation for the AP Lang. Exam in the Spring. Close reading of fiction and nonfiction of American literature enables students to recognize the elements of rhetoric and apply these to their own writing.

At the senior level, students are presented with a variety of options, including several English IV course pairings, dual-credit courses, and Advanced Placement options.

Course pairings include Women’s and Multicultural Literature, Sports Literature and Satire, British Literature and Mythology, MASH (Mystery, Adventure, Suspense, and Horror) and Outdoor Literature, and Holocaust and Crime Literature.

AP Literature is a high-level learning experience focusing on first-year college material. The classics are read in all genres: short stories, novel, poetry, drama, and essay. Like other AP courses, this class will prepare students to take an AP Exam in the Spring.

Dual Credit courses make students eligible to receive college credit through Helena College as well as high school credit. The two offerings include the course pairing Writing 101 and Literature 110, which is a college-level course designed to lay the groundwork for those wishing to pursue further academic studies, and the full year course Technical Writing, which focuses on writing for the real world and future careers.

Juniors and seniors may also take elective courses through the English department. These courses are designed to extend a student’s use of English-related skills in fun new ways that apply to students’ lives and interests. Electives include Science Fiction, Speech & Debate, Word Clues, Reading the Movies, Creative Writing, Journalism & Newspaper, yearbook, and two Advanced Placement courses, AP Seminar and AP Research.

Novel Rationales for Grades 9-12

Click here to obtain the Novel Rationales for HSD English.