The ninth grade English language and literature course concentrates on presenting various literary genres and building advanced reading and writing skills. Students study literature, media, grammar and vocabulary in addition to formal and creative writing. The course covers diverse genres of literature: short stories, novels, plays and poetry. Students study both Shakespearean and modern drama, as well as the works of classic and contemporary novelists. In order to enhance the students' engagement with the texts, the course is organized around central themes such as "parent-child relationships" and "moral dilemmas." Students learn techniques of close textual analysis. They are taught to read and identify theme, symbols and allusions, character development and other literary and poetic devices.
The goal of the 9th grade writing curriculum is to learn how to write clear, coherent prose. The focus is on mastering the critical essay and all its components: organized paragraphs, clear thesis statements, smooth transitions and the effective use of quotations. Students learn to edit their work carefully with the help of the teacher and their peers. Students also write book reports on books that they read independently, and complete a public speaking unit, in which they study rhetoric and present a persuasive speech. Grammar and vocabulary are both gleaned from the literature and studied through the use of formal texts.