Honors English 1 (ninth grade) and Honors English 2 (tenth grade) are a sequence of college-preparatory classes designed to emphasize academic writing and analysis of classic literature. These classes prepare students for the AP Language and Composition course and Exam in eleventh grade and for the AP Literature and Composition course and Exam in twelfth grade. There are no prerequisites for these classes, but students and their parents are encouraged to seek the recommendation and advice of their current English teachers before selecting placement in honors.
The main difference between honors and regular classes is not in the amount of homework, but in the types of skills, analysis, and independent thinking expected. The pacing and selection of materials in honors classes are designed for students who are comfortable reading more difficult material and writing about it. Thus students who struggle with reading or writing may find that these classes demand a great deal of time for preparation outside class.
Here is a brief comparison of regular and honors classes:
- Literature selections address a variety of reading levels and lean toward
- contemporary selections.
- Students are often encouraged to discuss and write about how the literature affects them or relates to their own experiences. Writing fluency—especially sentence and paragraph skills—and the writing process are emphasized.
- Students are introduced to literary analysis, but the focus is on reader response, comprehension, and reading skills such as drawing inferences, developing vocabulary in context, and understanding genres.
- Classic literature selections may use excerpts or simplified versions rather than full texts.
- Students usually read around 100 pages of text each week or less. Some reading may be done in class.
- Literature selections tend toward the classics, often including selections that present challenges to readers because of vocabulary, cultural context, or historical period.
- Composition emphasis is on polished, academic writing.
- Students will focus in depth on literary analysis which may include tone, imagery, symbolism, and philosophical themes.
- Students will read full texts of both classic and contemporary literature selections.
- Most reading, often more than 100 pages per week, will be done outside class. Extended writing assignments, research, and projects will also be completed outside class time.