The English Department at Colorado Rocky Mountain School concerns itself with the essentials of college preparation: reading comprehension, vocabulary building, and analytical writing. Courses in English offer varied experiences in reading and writing exercises, with an overall goal of the students’ complete engagement with the texts. At the same time, values are taught through literature, and students graduate with the background and skill level that colleges expect.

The expectation is that students graduate with sophisticated writing skills. Students begin in the 9th-grade learning sentence and paragraph structures, practicing various forms of writing, and they proceed to the full development of the thesis statement and formation of the critical essay in the 10th grade. As juniors, students hone their essay writing skills and spend a significant portion of their year refining a major research paper. In their senior year, students refine the skills of expository writing and ultimately achieve much more independent responses to the literature they read. Library-research and public-speaking skills are also emphasized in each year of English. The 9th, 10th, and 11th grade English and history teachers also collaborate to teach core interdisciplinary themes across departments.

In World Literature, students explore the identities, cultures, and meanings that individuals discover in their own lives and the world around them. This course challenges students to think about who they are while broadening their understanding of the vast landscape of people and communities inhabiting the planet. The course asks students to have meaningful conversations with their peers to articulate their own perspectives and listen to see the perspective of others. Students write frequently to gain familiarity with this outlet and make well-informed statements about what they read. Texts for the course include The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.