ENGLISH MASTERY PROGRAM COURSES
The first year of the program consists of two courses. The first is called Reading Comprehension. In that course the students work on mastering the English language from the fundamental level on up. Using a modified Orton-Gillingham approach, they examine phonics cards (letter/sound associations and letter combinations), syllable division rules, linguistic terminology, rote memorization, and spelling rules. In addition to word attack skills, students work on vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening skills, and study and organizational skills. The students in this course are placed into sections of two or three students, and their progress is based on their mastery of the material. Importantly, students who do not require phonics work are placed into groups where that section is replaced by intensive vocabulary work.
The second first year course is a full size class called Composition One. In this course students work extensively in learning the fundamentals of grammar and writing. The students are required to memorize definitions for parts of speech, to learn the various sentence constructions, and to apply the information they learn in their own writing. The students also are instructed in composing topic sentences, thesis statements, paragraphs, and essays. Here again progress is based on mastery.
The second year course is called Analytical Writing. The students in this course, in groups of four or five, work intensively on writing. They primarily read an assortment of short stories and novellas. At the same time they are instructed in how to write an introductory paragraph, how to write an essay, and how to use the text to support their points. Additionally, they are taught to recognize symbolism and other types of figurative language in the works they examine. Amongst the skills they acquire; seeing how paragraphs are structured, writing different types of paragraphs, recognizing patterns (outlining, charting), finding the main idea, moving from literal to inferential interpretation, writing five paragraph essays, improving writing mechanics, developing vocabulary, and developing skills for self-monitoring.