English courses at WRA draw students into the realms of literature, language, ethical discourse and composition

Classes promote both independent and collaborative effort. Objectives include careful, thoughtful reading, ongoing vocabulary development, engaged class discussion, the application of grammar and style, and the writing and revision process. As such, teachers provide regular formative feedback on student writing and argumentation. Through the English curriculum students develop their capacity to think critically, imaginatively, and compassionately, and to express that thinking cogently, compellingly, and powerfully — in both speaking and writing.

The Path

Chapter 1: Foundations of Text introduces students to the study of composition and literature at WRA. Students learn to identify and examine the details within a story and to grasp and recognize the details needed in writing.

Chapter 2: Explorations in Analysis dives deeper into the study of composition and literature. Students learn to identify the types of connections that exist within a text, and how a text connects with the larger world and its readers.

Chapter 3: Angles in Writing explores and examines perspective and bias in literature. Students learn to recognize the various conversations that a text engages in, and the types of scholarly conversations that exist regarding the text.

And Beyond! WRA offers a variety of English courses diving deep into literature, language, writing and culture. Have a passion for English? There's a class (or 10) for you!

The reserve writing exam (rwe)

Since 1980, the Reserve Writing Exam (RWE) has been Western Reserve Academy’s in-house writing exam and graduation requirement. The RWE is a four-hour assessment that gauges a WRA student’s ability to read a short story and/or poem, and then respond to a specific prompt in the academic essay form. Students are given a copy of the poem and the short story 48-hours before the exam and are encouraged to discuss the pieces with friends and classmates. Papers are graded anonymously by a minimum of two different English teachers. The Reserve Writing Exam plays a dual assessment role: first, it acts as a students first semester final assessment. Second, it acts as a graduation requirement. Students must achieve a passing score in order to graduate.

Spotlight Course

revision & Remix

During the twenty-first century, a boom of remakes and remixes of literature has occurred. From television and film to comics and board games, societal nostalgia has led to a rise in adaptations (sometimes brilliant, other times a bit cringe-worthy). While the originals are great, these remakes are often unexplored and rich with opportunities for analysis. This course focuses on original works and the remakes that have come after. As a collective, the class will explore various forms of media and the works they are based on. Through both discussion-based learning and individual exploration, students will explore how writers and other artists re-use and remix stories and what these adaptations tell us about self, culture, and this moment in time.


Studies in English (Studies) and College Level Studies in English (CL Studies) Offerings—listed below are two separate elective systems offered to returning seniors and qualified post-graduate students for fulfillment of the English graduation requirement. All courses, regardless of the specific level, explore topics and subjects that matter. We want our students to continue to build on their relationship with reading and writing by pursuing things that matter to them.

Studies in Literature Electives:
Creative Writing: Fiction; Film Studies; Nature Writing & Ethics; Revision & Remix; Speculative Fiction; Storytelling & Sports; Writing for Publication

College Level Studies in Literature:
American Literature & the Free Market Economy; Divided by Class, Power of Language; Shakespeare

Writing Beyond Research:
BUFO, WRA’s Fiction & Literary Magazine; Scholastic Art & Writing Awards; Rotary 4 Way Speech Competition; Gannon Writing Awards; Marilyn Bianchi Playwriting festival; Maltz History Museum, Stop the Hate Essay Contest; Ohio Poetry Association Contest; JustWrite

Graduation Requirements

Four-year sequence and successful completion of the Reserve Writing Exam.

View our complete course offerings list and read descriptions of each English class beginning on page 6 of the Academic Course Descriptions 2024-25.

Meet the Faculty