Freshman English focuses on writing as a process and on reading from culturally defining texts of Western civilization. Students concentrate on the process of developing their essays through such stages as pre-writing, outlining, first and second drafts, and peer edits. Students are introduced to elements of style while also learning the importance of introductory paragraphs, topic sentences, textual evidence, and strong conclusions. They acquire the fundamental patterns of critical thinking and the vocabulary necessary for written and spoken analysis of literary texts. Imaginative expression is encouraged and, in the course of the year, original poems and personal narratives emerge. Other skills important to a student’s Upper School career, such as class participation, note-taking, and proofreading, form an essential part of the course. Oral skills develop through recitations and presentations. The literature of the course includes Oedipus the King, The Odyssey, and Romeo and Juliet, as well as selected poems and short stories reflecting diverse voices and points of view.