This class is intended for 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who possess a love of story and energetic discussion. While this course is designed to prepare students to successfully take the Advanced Placement English Literature exam, the material is structured to encourage an ongoing love of writing and in-depth textual analysis. The ability to thoughtfully evaluate what we read is one of the best skills to develop in high school and beyond.
The pieces chosen for this course reflect a wide variety of themes and styles. There is something here for a lover of any genre and style, from classic drama to biting satire to realism and beyond. I have chosen classic works of fiction from a variety of time periods and backgrounds to help students explore a three-dimensional, vibrant scope of humanity. This class is also College Board-certified.
My goals in AP English Literature are to:
- Guide students as they master a wide breadth of literary analysis concepts, vocabulary, and devices such as figurative language, motif, symbolism, characterization, conflict, narrative perspective, tone, and more that help us to interpret and enjoy the narratives we read.
- Help students to master the ability to write concise, well-structured, specific essay responses.
- Encourage students to pursue knowledge in an active manner.
- Create an interactive community of rich discussion and exchange of ideas.
I work to achieve these goals through many activities, including but not limited to:
- Hosting optional live, interactive chats every week via the Zoom conferencing program. If you are not able to attend live meetings, you may listen to the recordings. Our live meetings include lecture material from me and interactive student discussion.
- Regular student interaction and discussion in our website forum on a weekly basis. Reading and responding to the insights of their peers is a great learning and social activity. We always have a thoughtful, vibrant student community in this course, and students have formed enjoyable study groups and lasting friendships.
- Providing in-depth written feedback on every essay assignment. Guiding students as they complete assignments that prepare them for each concept and section of the AP Exam, including fiction analysis, poetry analysis, drama analysis, free response, and multiple-choice questions. Students who complete all of the preparation assignments I assign feel prepared and ready for success. Please read the student reviews for detailed feedback from course participants.
- Providing optional creative writing assignments to help students get involved and enjoy writing. These assignments are fictional reflections from the point of view of a character we’ve encountered, poetry responses, and more. All creative exercises are optional; students may focus on essays alone if preferred.
- Moderating an interactive, week-long “Dinner Party” project each spring. This is a lively website forum discussion that involves students “interacting” as authors and characters we’ve encountered throughout the year. Students interact in character and discuss many issues that involve analysis and creativity. This is an excellent way for students to practice their research skills and develop their ability to see from the point of view of a fictional character or a classic writer. This exercise is a wonderful preparation for the AP Exam.
- Longer writing assignments, including a mandatory 6-10-page midterm literary analysis paper. This is excellent preparation for college-level writing, as I help to guide students through multiple checkpoints for this project and encourage original critical thinking and strong structural skills.
- Students are encouraged to consider participating in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and I offer guidance if desired. My background includes Creative Writing instruction, and my students (including all course and tutoring students) have won many Silver Keys and Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. This class is designed to be rigorous and exciting, while still flexible.
Homework will be assigned/due weekly on our course website. Students may view the detailed syllabus at any point to see what is coming up next. I will also send out a weekly homework update email to both students and parents. Students will read regular handouts, posts, and activities on the website.
Weekly assignments may include:
- A weekly 50-minute live meeting.
- Interactive discussion of course texts and concepts in our website forum.
- Handouts and visual aids/presentations.
- Essays and multiple-choice quizzes in preparation for the AP exam in May. These assignments are designed to develop the specific skills your student needs.
- Reading assignments ranging from approx. 30-100 pages. These assignments may include major course texts and suggested resources.
- Optional bonus assignments and an in-depth, extra-credit vocabulary prompt of the week.
- Longer writing assignments, including a mandatory midterm paper. These assignments are typically completed over multiple weeks with detailed teacher feedback and check- in points.
Who should enroll?
This course is intended for 10th-12th graders who (in general) have completed at least 1 year of high-school level English. Submitting an application is required.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Web cam, sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
All homework will be submitted and critiqued via the website; I provide detailed critiques on all essays and respond to course discussion responses personally. My goal is to provide detailed essay critiques within 1 week of the essay’s due date. For lengthier assignments such as term papers, response time may be longer. Students receive all critiques well before the next writing assignment is due so that they may steadily develop and improve their work with each assignment.
I provide regular instruction and feedback in areas such as depth of analysis, organization and structure, balance of generalization and specific detail, effective use of literary elements, correct syntax and grammar, and correct use of a wide-ranging vocabulary and diction. My essay critiques are geared to help students hone in on challenge areas and improve their essay scores.
An application is required for this course. Once a student has been accepted and is registered, I will contact families within 1-2 business days of registration. I believe strongly in keeping parents in the loop at all times; I send weekly class update emails to parents and students. Parents also have the ability to view their child’s progress via an Observer Canvas account.