Course Descriptions » English Courses

English Courses


This course focuses on mythology, poetry, short stories, personal essays and fiction by Latin American authors, from pre-Columbian to the present-day. Literature is in translation, but students may seek out original language versions. Students will do research, present, and write essays on the material. Music, film, and drama may also be included. Reading journals, quizzes, tests and essays will be assigned each quarter.


This course focuses upon the ideas and problems of today’s societies. Reading on an individual and group basis is organized around themes reflecting social, ethical and ethnic concerns of groups across the world. Students read from novels, criticism, short stories, poems, song lyrics, essays and plays. Students study minority writers, women writers, and read works from Latin American, African and Asian authors.  There is a concentration on personal writing for applications and resumes.


This course should be of keen interest to lovers of the writings of Bradbury, Wells, Sterling, and Clarke. A broad spectrum will be covered in this exciting and ever changing field of science fiction, fantasy, futurology, and science-fact. What have these forward-looking writers said about the direction of humanity? How accurate has their vision been? These and other important questions will be dealt with through class discussion, seminar groups, films, and other methods of discovery.


This course introduces the literature of many countries and times while developing reading ability and increasing competence in language by planned discussion, vocabulary study, and writing. Its purposes are to develop interest in further study of the great literature of the world, and to consider values and ideals of people and their culture both similar to and different from our own. Definition, summary, comparison/contrast, argument and personal essays based on literature are the types of exposition taught in the writing phase of the class. Honors sections offered.

Expository Reading and Writing (ERWC) Course Description

What is the ERWC?
The Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) is a year-long English course that will prepare you for the literacy demands of college and the world of work. The course focuses specifically on preparing you to engage in a critical reading and critical writing identified by the California State University (CSU) English Placement Test Committee, and prepares students for the demands of college and university.

The course consists of a series of modules which will help you read, comprehend, and respond to non-fiction and literary text, as well as  provide instruction in research and documentation, and language conventions. The California State University has approved this course for Area “b” credits (of the “a-g” requirements), and the course meets the college preparatory requirements for both UC and CSU campuses.

What should I expect if I enroll in this course?
Like other courses offered here at Bell Gardens High School, you should expect to do a lot of reading and writing. You will be expected to read, annotate, discuss, and integrate the various articles associated with the modules. You will also be expected complete short writing assignments such as quickwrites, responses, and summaries, as well as full-length essays (approximately 3-5 pages). As we move through each module, you will have plenty of opportunities to discuss the readings with your classmates as you discover your position on the topics presented. You will also have the chance to develop your writing through grammar instruction that will enable you to write with more sophistication.

Why Should I Choose this Course?
If you want to learn how to read and write with ease at the college level (2-year and 4-year), this course will certainly help you reach this goal. Since you will need to pass an English Placement Test (at both the 2-year and 4-year levels), wouldn’t you want to pass the test and avoid having to take a remedial course that will cost you both time and money?

Advanced Composition Course Description

What is Advanced Composition?

Advanced Composition is a year-long English course that will prepare you for the literacy demands of college and the world of work. This course is designed to encourage self-expression, stimulate the imagination, and clarify the convention of written language. Class projects including writing poetry, creating and producing original television shows/movies, compiling a short story anthology, and completing a variety of exercises designed to inspire the original thought. Students will utilize prewriting actives to produce more thoughtful writings. Students will complete multiple drafts of major writing assignments. Students will revise their work to produce more finished looking results. Students will have opportunities to submit their best work for presentation or publications.

The course consists of four units: Nonfiction, Poetry, Fiction and Drama. Each genre is focused on a 9 week unit. During each unit, students will be asked to respond to specific writing assignments, which will be drafted and critiqued multiple times by classmates as well as their teacher. Each unit culminates in a portfolio project in which students present their refined pieces of literature, which they’ve written over the course of the unit.

The California State University has approved this course for Area “b” credits (of the “a-g” requirements), and the course meets the college preparatory requirements for both UC and CSU

What should I expect if I enroll in this course?

You should expect to have reading assignments every week and respond to the reading using annotations, Dialectical Journals, and short analytical essays. You will also be expected to craft writing pieces for each of the four units (Nonfiction-approximately 5 short essays; Poetry-approximately 10 poems; Fiction-approximately 5 short stories; Drama-approximately 5 pieces).

Why Should I Choose this Course?

If you are already a creative writer, or would like to learn more about the creative writing process, this class will help you reach this goal.

A.P Literature and Composition

A.P Literature and Composition is a rigorous and demanding, college-level course designed to offer 12th grade students the opportunity to participate in a community of learners and master the skills needed to become independent thinkers and writers. Through extensive exploration and close reading of various literary works, students will deepen their understanding of the many functions of literature and authors' stylistic devices. Exposure to close reading analysis of various literary passages will lead students to articulate and write thoughtful  and insightful responses to literature, thus preparing students for the Advanced Placement English Literature Exam, which requires students to be able to think  independently and write critically and interpretively in response to the multiple-choice  and essay questions on literary selections.



This course introduces students to a broad array of epic poetry and cultural tales as well as canonical British literature.  This class is recommended for students who enjoy reading, want to read more classical and well-known British literature, or who simply want to read challenging but rich literary texts in an accessible environment.  It is also recommended if you intend to pursue English Literature as a potential major in college.  This class will study all of the major time periods of British Literature beginning with the Old English and Medieval periods, moving through the English Renaissance, The Romantic Period, The Victorian Period, and ending with Modern and Post-Modern authors.

This includes an in-depth period study beginning with Old English epics like Beowulf to the Medieval Period including Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, to British classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Charles Dickens Hard Times, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and including authors like John Donne, Ben Jonson, John Milton, Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, William Shakespeare, Francesco Petrarch, Sir Thomas More, and none other than Queen Elizabeth herself.

Literary Modes will include studying poetry, novels, speeches, and nonfiction.

  • All students will be expected to participate in Socratic discussions, develop, revise, and redraft essays with an emphasis on developing more sophisticated syntax, and collaborate in groups with peers often producing work in a collaborative effort and often in a college presentation mode.
  • All students will also be expected to read and write nightly and should expect the bulk of reading to be done at home with class time being used to explore, discuss, and expand the student’s understanding of the texts.
  • Writing is the primary mode of evaluation in conjunction with class discussion.
  • Participation is essential as students are expected to participate in activities such as dialectical journals, short and long analytic writing assignments, Cornell notes, class presentations, research projects, group projects, as well as use of technology including PowerPoint presentations.

In a nutshell, this class will be everything any potential English major should read or would want to read in order to feel like a well-versed reader.  The content may be challenging but the payoff from these timeless, epic texts which will be far greater than the challenge.  Avid readers are encouraged to sign up for this class.