English

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Reading, Discerning, Listening, Expressing Yourself

English at Milton offers a continuous interplay between the traditional and the innovative, the ancient and the modern, the basic skills and the imaginative creation. In intimate classrooms, students encounter deeply knowledgeable and caring faculty, passionate about the material and about sparking a love of literature in their students. Beginning in Class IV, with English workshop, students hone grammar and usage skills, and refine the art of crafting a sentence. From there, electives broaden the range of authors and topics that students read and study. Around the Harkness table, students become comfortable discussing the literature and their reactions to it. Classes are not lecture-based, but discussion-based—open, democratic. Faculty synchronize curriculum with the development of the students—understanding the topics and themes most relevant to them and applying that to assignments. Students find their voices, becoming sophisticated readers and sophisticated writers. Emerging storytellers themselves, and investigators of the world around them, students leave Milton with the ability to write well and clearly; to read closely and critically. They’re comfortable encountering and asking questions about a text, and they apply those skills across various disciplines.

From the Classroom

Sample Reading List from Modern Comparative Literature

Joan Didion, The White Album
Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Toni Morrison, Beloved
David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross
David Henry Hwang, Yellow Face

Class IV Talks

All Class IV students deliver a prepared five- to seven-minute speech to their classmates as part of the Class IV English course. Students choose their own topics, including:

The Power of Curiosity
Women in Science
Being Gay in 2016
The Pros and Cons of Being Short

Award-Winning Writing

Each year, Milton writers are recognized for exceptional achievement in their work. This year, students earned national acclaim from the Bennington College Young Writers Award, the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Seven students were chosen among thousands of young writers to be featured in the 2016 edition of The Apprentice Writer, a publication of the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University.


In English, the critical essay really pushed me to do my best. The entire year I was striving to do one piece that I was really proud of, and my personal charge was to go out and give it my all. The teacher told us to do it our own way. That freedom had its pros and cons. It made you search deeper inside yourself and that was hard, but it paid off.

Neshaat Bharwani

Belmont, Massachusetts

Every day in my English classes, I have 12 to 15 teenagers around the Harkness table who have done the reading. They’re not trying to get away from challenge, and they are truly excited about our discussion. They ask great questions. They love language. At Milton, you become a critical thinker. It’s always been that way, and that’s one of the things I loved as a student here. We have serious discussions about words, and how to use words powerfully. Every minute, every class period is packed.

Caroline Sabin '86

English Department