Reading for the Rhetoric Stage

Full-year course. Reading for the Rhetoric Stage is designed to engage rhetoric-stage students in reading, literary discussion, and introductory literary analysis. Students will come together with their instructor once a week to talk about that week’s reading and engage in literary analysis related to it. The course will be a mix of lecture and socratic seminar.

The goals of this course are to encourage students to further develop the habits of lifelong readership, to introduce them to a range of texts, and to provide foundational skills in literary analysis and criticism. In Reading for the Rhetoric Stage, students will be expected to read the assigned pages in advance of class sessions and come to class prepared to share their responses and ideas about the texts with their instructor and each other. Course time will also consist of instruction in the art of literary analysis and criticism, and students should be prepared to take notes on course lectures and use these notes to prepare for quizzes, exams and other assignments that will contribute to their final grade.

Please note: This course is designed for high-school students. Several of these readings contain topics, scenarios, subjects, and themes that younger and/or more sensitive readers may find upsetting or unsettling. While these texts are appropriate for most mature high school students, students and parents should be aware of the complexities and intensities of these readings in advance. If you have any concerns we encourage you to check the texts out at the local library before enrolling your student.


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Reading for the Rhetoric Stage Information




  • Example Syllabus
  • Class meets once per week for 50-55 minutes.
  • Class cap: 15 students.
  • Designed for grades 9-10.
  • High school students may be awarded 1 Language Arts credit upon completion of this course.

Course Materials




  • Click here to purchase the course texts.
    • Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank
    • All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
    • Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
    • David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
    • Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver
    • Devotions, Mary Oliver
    • Here, by Richard McGuire
    • Macbeth, Shakespeare
    • The Martian, Andy Weir
    • Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
    • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
    • The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead
    • Tenth of December, George Saunders
    • Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers, Deborah Heiligman
    • A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin


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