Intermediate Writing (3rd – 4th Grade)

Instructor: Vanessa Vis
Grade Level or Ability Level: 3rd – 4th Grade
Pre-requisite: Writing and reading abilities must be at 3rd grade level.
When: 2x weekly
Course Length: 2 Semesters

Gripped by an enthralling story? Consuming vast paper quantities as you write? Or… perhaps hate the notion of writing? Welcome! Enter the writing world as we delve into diverse genres, play with sentence creation, and create our own written works. Together we will study authors’ techniques and apply them in our writing. We will accumulate vocabulary and refine our spelling throughout our journey. Whether you love or hate writing, you will end the year appreciating different genres and knowing the honors of authorship.


Foundational Writing (5th – 6th Grade)

Instructor: Vanessa Vis
Grade Level or Ability Level: 5th – 6th Grade
Pre-requisite: Writing and reading abilities must be at 5th grade level.
When: 2x weekly
Course Length: 2 Semesters

Building from the bottom up, we will develop and sharpen skills required to become a capable writer. Foundational skills such as word knowledge, grammar, and snazzy sentences will highlight the beginning of our year. We will utilize our honed skills to compose a variety of paragraphs and essays. Using literature to learn literary devices and narrative structures will equip us to craft our own worthy work.


Writers LABWriter’s L.A.B.

Instructor: Mrs. Likkel
Grade Level or Ability Level: 6th – 7th Grade (At least 12 years old)
Pre-requisite: Reading on or above grade level and writing a basic paragraph
When: 2x weekly
Course Length: 2 Semesters
Min / Max Enrollment: 4/10

What to do with adolescents who are about to step into the world of vocabulary, novels and eek! -grammar? Well, you Love, Affirm and Believe; hence Writer’s L.A.B. We’ll treat words as if in a laboratory, to inspect and respect but we’ll also delight in them, use them in palatable ways.

This class is ideal for students who need to build foundational skills in all areas of English. An introduction to the literary elements as applied to novels, short stories, biographies, and poems will set the foundation for being more appreciative readers. A significant focus will be writing assignments such as creative, descriptive, & many forms expository such as compare/contrast, definition, reason and 5-paragraph essay. Although all skills are sequential through the year, instruction on parts of speech, grammar, mechanics, and sentence structure will be emphasized in the fall semester. Paragraphing, editing, word choice, and critical analysis in written assignments will be stressed during the spring semester.

Interested students are welcome to join us at the Young Author’s convention held every spring at Skagit Valley College.

At least 5 novels, 300 new words, 20 poems and dozens of essays will be read, learned and written. Challenging yet fun, this class equips and motivates the willing-to-learn student.


Beyond the Basics

Instructor: Mrs. Likkel
Grade Level or Ability Level: 8th – 9th Grade
Pre-requisites: Must be reading on or above grade level and have mastered an introductory level of literature, grammar, and writing
When: 2x weekly
Course Length: 2 Semesters
Min / Max Enrollment: 4/10

This course will weekly cover reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. The first semester re-establishes the basics of grammar and builds beyond the eight parts of speech to more advanced grammar, as in phrases, clauses, and verbals as well as a study of punctuation, homophones and reading phonetics. Grammar is taught interactively, with students using the skills in their daily writing. Each paper is expected to contain the learned techniques so student writing soon reveals a more mature voice. Students’ writing at the end of the year will demonstrate solid sentence construction with a variety of sentence beginnings, cohesive organization and thoughtful word choice. Better yet, students are able to articulate why they made they writing choices.

Reading also includes learning the basics and taking it a step further as we identify literary elements and trace theme and analyze how an author characterizes and chooses words to construct a piece reflective of his or her purpose. Students will write in response in a variety of genres, based on selections that include short stories, biographies, novels, & memoir. Writing and reading assignment themes include truth, wisdom, courage, humility, and justice.

Second semester study has students using first semester skills to go beyond essays and literature reflections to research skills that include outlining, gathering & organizing information before crafting a cogent paper of length. Rounding out the year will be oral presentations & a study of poetry that ranges from word-play to traditional poetic devices and terms. At the end of the year, students will know 300 new words from their vocabulary study.


Freshman EnglishFreshman English

Instructor: Mrs. Likkel
Grade Level or Ability Level: 9th Grade
When: 2x weekly
Course Length: 2 Semesters
Freshmen English will encompass five major components of language arts at this level: reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary and speech. This level of work will require students to be diligent as they read expository and narratives more deeply and write essays more clearly. Students will learn how to read and write poetry, understand the author’s artistry in short stories and speak with focus and clarification. In addition to learning more advanced forms of grammar, students will also read some great American classics.


Sophomore English

Instructor: Mrs. Likkel
Grade Level or Ability Level: 10th, with at least 2 years of 7th – 9th grade English class (not necessarily ZLO)
When: 2x weekly
Course Length: 2 Semesters

Sophomore English will focus on SAT vocabulary preparation, literature and non-fiction analysis, research, poetry, and public presentation. Students will read 3-4 novels each semester from classic, contemporary, and Christian literature while analyzing each for structure, character development, and theme. Much emphasis will also be placed on non- fiction essays and memoirs. Students will continue to study poetic structure and devices, drawing examples from classic ballads, sonnets, and the Bible. Public presentation will be integrated throughout both semesters as students work on successful integration of visual displays, including power point. Successful completion of this course will prepare students for Junior English and/or Running Start.