Intro to Literature and Academic Writing

(18 customer reviews)

From: $92.00 / month for 8 months

Grades:  8th–10th

Live Class:  Thu 6:00–7:00 p.m. ET

Dates:  Aug 21–May 3

Price:  $649

Instructor:  Colette Bailes

We recommend High School Academic Writing as a substitute for this course.

See Reviews of Instructor Colette Bailes

Enrollment in this class is currently closed.

Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Colette Bailes

View Course Syllabus

This live online English class for high school credit introduces students to literary analysis and academic writing. It is excellent preparation for future AP classes, such as AP English or AP History where academic writing is required.

Students have opinions, and I want them to be able to express these opinions in their writing in a way that is clear and understandable. My goal is to motivate students using engaging literature and class discussions as agents to help formulate arguments. Then we will integrate the standards for academic writing, which allow students to communicate their ideas persuasively. This class focuses on the foundational understanding of literary devices, their identification and critical examination, indispensable to thoughtful discussion and sophisticated literary analysis.

Semester One

Students will use the framework of dystopian novels as a springboard to discuss and evaluate author’s voice, tone, and theme, as well as, setting, symbols, satire, irony, figurative language, allegory, and direct and indirect characterization. Students will learn literary terms and apply that terminology through class discussions and on individual written and performance assessments. Writing assignments will be related to analyzing these devices within the assigned literature.

Semester Two

Students will use the framework of the “Hero’s Journey” and archetypes to discuss and evaluate narrative prose and fiction through structure, characterization alliteration, allusions, archetypes, foreshadowing, figurative language, imagery, kennings, allegory and fantasy. Analysis will include literary devices such as plot, structure, style, point of view, and symbols. Students will study author’s craft and apply this knowledge through class discussions and on individual written and performance assessments. Writing assignments will be related to analyzing these devices within the assigned literature.

Course Structure

There are ten modules in this class – nine associated to the novels we read and analyze. Homework assignments are posted on the classroom site on Mondays to be submitted by end of week on Friday. Typical weekly assignments include the following: readings of text and supplemental materials, defining literary and/or vocabulary terms associated to readings, and some type of writing assignment due each week with a major essay due at the end of each month. Class recordings are posted on Fridays.

Course Objectives

  • Students will produce, revise, and publish six analytical essays covering a range of topics.
  • Students will read literary texts deeply and respond using imaginative and analytical frameworks.
  • Students will practice literary analysis based on key features of fiction and poetry texts, including text structure and style, elements of plot, setting, historical and social context, mood and tone, theme, figurative language, imagery, and symbolism.
  • Students will write critical literary analyses by engaging in three modes of response: experience, interpretation, and evaluation.
  • Students will develop writing processes that are both efficient and effective.
  • Students will make careful observations of textual detail, establish connections among their observations, and draw conclusions about observation that lead to interpretive conclusions about the value and meaning of literature.
  • Students will recognize rhetorical, structural, and linguistic choices that writers make and aid students in making their own choices about writing.
  • Students will collaborate with classmates and engage in scholarly conversations about reading and writing.

Who should enroll?

This class is for 8th-10th graders who want to develop the necessary skills and competencies for academic writing and the writing process.  No prerequisite course work is required, but student should be able to craft a 5-paragraph essay.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Web cam, sound card, and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

I believe in substantial, individualized feedback so that each student can gain confidence, enhance learning and improve skills to encourage self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning. Rubrics are provided and clearly state the required criteria for writing assignments. Students will receive feedback via Canvas. Parents will receive individual mid-year and end-of-year assessments.


Parents do not need to contact me before registering for the class. You will receive a response from me within 24 hours of registration.

Required Texts


It is in the best interest that students purchase the recommended texts so that they may annotate their copies. Note that the following are all paperback versions.

First Semester:

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry, ISBN 0-440-23768-8
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, ISBN 0-345-34296-8
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell, ISBN 0-451-52634-1
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, ISBN 0-81255070-6

Second Semester:

  • Everyman and Other Miracle & Morality Plays, ISBN 0-48628726-2
  • Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition (translated by Seamus Heaney), ISBN 13: 978-0-393-33010-6
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, (translated by Burton Raffel), ISBN 978-0-451-53119-3
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, ISBN 978-0-618-15082-3
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton,  ISBN 0-14240733-X


18 reviews for Intro to Literature and Academic Writing

  1. Lydia

    (Introduction to Literature and Academic Writing) I really enjoyed this class! It really improved my writing skills, and I know that the skills I acquired will come back to help me in the future. Mrs. Bailes is extremely helpful and patient. She always answered any questions I had and gave me very helpful feedback on my assignments. She was very encouraging and a great teacher! The workload was reasonable, and whenever it got too difficult or confusing, I always felt welcome to contact Mrs. Bailes and ask for help. She never seemed unapproachable! Even after I fired question after question, she was still patient and kind.
    I am so glad my parents found this course for me! I look back and see how much I have improved through the writing assignments and the weekly live classes. My classmates were all respectful as well, and this really contributed to the experience.
    The literature that was chosen for this class was also wonderful! Many of the novels that I was required to read were added to my list of Favorite Books, and I learned to look for the overall message the author was trying to send to the reader and the symbols that were hidden throughout the story. I learned a lot in this class, and I’m very glad I took it! I would definitely recommend it to anyone else who wishes to improve his or her writing and reading skills.

  2. Caia Shannon

    I really enjoyed this class! The only thing I would really change or ask to be changed is to have more class discussions on the Discussion Board in Canvas. I really enjoyed those. I found this class really helpful. It helped me grow as a writer and become more confidant in areas of writing that I previously dreaded. It also showed me how to get more out of a book than just a storyline and that there is so much more to a book than just the plot. I really enjoyed the class discussions that we would have every week during live class. Mrs. Bailes was also always very prompt to get back to me whenever I had a question. She would also leave notes on my assignments to tell me how I could improve my writing and why I had gotten points taken off where I did. I could tell that all of her comments were tailored to me. It is clear how much Mrs. Bailes cares about her students. She really cares about your opinion on something and it really shows in the way that she converses with her students.

  3. Gabriele Pealer

    Mrs. Bailes is a lovely teacher and I absolutely recommend her for a beginning high school level writing class. When I attended her Intro to Literature and Writing class in my sophomore year, I had previously read many stories and completed some essays and short writings, but had never been challenged with an intensive grading rubric and series of literature elements (such as theme, allegory, etc.) in a “real” class taught by someone else than my parents; in fact, this was the first class from which received an actual grade. Mrs. Bailes was easily able to bring me up to speed with evidence, analyzation, theses, and MLA formatting in essay writing, taking my first grade of a C to an A+ by spring. Aside from improving my writing skills, I also felt greatly challenged by weekly classes during which we rigorously reviewed and analyzed novels in ways that blossomed my critical thinking skills, imagination, and argumentative ability.

    Now my confused sophomore year seems far behind me as I continue to push along with new advanced courses, including AP English with Mrs. Serbicki (taught on AIM Academy) and a Psychology 101 course at my local college. I have continued to gain top scores by the love of a good challenge, but also maintain the “not yet” mentality (as discussed in the Ted Talk by Carol Dweck) to allow myself a breath of forgiveness when I do not perform as highly as I had hoped I would. Much of this continued reinforcement which I give myself I know must have originated with Mrs. Bailes, when we were allowed to accept our low performances for the first class essay so that we could enjoy year-long growth and six months later have a good laugh at the mess we had made in our very first essay. Those messy essays feel very removed now, however, as I regularly write timed essays, applications for scholarships, and business emails to colleagues. I will always be grateful to the strong foundation Mrs. Bailes gave me to excel for the rest of my life!

  4. Safiyah Tamraz

    This class was GREAT for me! Writing was always my weakness, but by the end of the year I was very confident because of the amount of support, and information I was exposed to throughout this course. Mrs. Bailes is a very nice, responsive, and caring teacher. She is also very patient and always takes the time to make sure students understand the material. The live classes were very interesting and interactive. She presented her information in a very informative and concise way making the material easier to understand and comprehend. As a freshman in high school I believe this was a great start and a great way to prepare for more complex and involved writing. I would recommend her class for anyone.

  5. Crystal Bell (verified owner)

    I am the parent of twin boys who have taken Mrs. Bailes’ course. Wonderful, knowledgable teacher are the descriptions i feel most apply. As a public school research teacher, I was able to really sit back and observe the rigor, book selection and writing that my boy’s learned in this class. Her kind spirit is unparalleled and her encouragement is still with my boys today. They were both well prepared for AP Literature. Thank you Mrs. Bailes.

  6. Elisabeth Cobbs

    I was a student at AIM during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. During my formative years, I enjoyed a variety of educational formats including various online programs, private, public, and traditional homeschool models. Of all of these, AIM allowed me to learn and grow the most. Every instructor I had was engaging and attentive. They made sure to keep the subject interesting and ensure that each student felt their voice was valued. In addition to the incredible teachers, the courses were challenging and fun and they prepared me for AP and college courses. I am currently a student at The Ohio State University and my experience with AIM prepared me to tackle collegiate level coursework. Discussion based learning, independent responsibility of assignments, and the platform on which homework is assigned and submitted are all aspects that students will see in a college setting. AIM prepared me well for that type of learning environment..

    Every AIM course I participated in was beneficial to me in one way or another, but Colette Bailes’ Intro to Literature and Academic Writing gave me countless skills that have proven invaluable to me in the college setting. Her class gave me a strong foundation to be successful in the various writing assignments I have faced. She gave me skills to be able to adapt to what each professor wants to see in a student’s work. In addition to this, the book list was incredible and her live class was always invigorating. Mrs. Bailes is one of the most genuinely kind and caring people you will ever meet and I enthusiastically recommend her course!

  7. Elizabeth Hagerup

    When my oldest son was in high school, I wanted to teach him how to be a better writer and how to edit his papers–but I didn’t know how to grade a paper I had helped to write and edit! We muddled through 9th grade but decided we needed help starting in 10th grade. I explored a lot of on-line options and found AIM Academy’s “Intro to Literature and Academic Writing.” The description was exactly was I was looking for and the price was competitive. We could only afford one on-line class, so it was a risk, but we decided to try it. I am so glad we did! AIM’s “Intro to Literature and Academic Writing” was perfect for us. It challenged my son and was a huge help to me! The teacher, Colette Bailes, was supportive and encouraging. My son went on to take two English AP classes his junior and senior years and easily made “A’s” in both classes. He is more science and math-minded, so this is clear proof of the excellent foundation AIM Academy laid for him. Last year my second son also took AIM Academy’s “Intro to Literature and Academic Writing,” and he, too, is getting an “A” in his first AP English class this year!

  8. Aasiyah Mohammed

    Mrs. Bailes “Intro to Literature and Academic Writing” is an amazing Class. I got to read so many excellent books and my writing skills improved very much. Mrs. Bailes helped me and gave me a lot of feedback. I highly recommend this class to anyone.

  9. Tracy Jacobson (verified owner)

    My daughter took this class as an eighth grader. I saw definite improvements in her writing. Ms Bailes was verY patient and taught in a concise manner. I felt the course prepared her for high school writing and beyond. I recommend this course to all high schoolers looking towards college.

  10. Kara Miller

    I absolutely loved this class. Mrs. Bailes is a brilliant and engaging teacher who is well-rehearsed in this field. She provided thought-provoking ideas and analysis during class, along with asking questions that made me think about the book at a different angle. On my writing assignments, Mrs. Bailes gave such in-depth feedback and helpful tips that allowed me to grow not only as a writer, but also as a thinker. The books assigned were books I usually wouldn’t take off a shelf, but ended up actually being a joy to read. I learned so much from each book when looking for literary devices, and my knowledge expanded further from our weekly discussions in class. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who is considering it. I learned so much!!

  11. Aaron Shey

    This class greatly improved my writing skills through its multiple writing assignments, which I am thankful for because the ability to write well will be a useful tool throughout the rest of my life. The books were interesting and enjoyable to read, and lecture times were also engaging and helpful. In fact, I liked the lecture times so much I was sad when the class ended. Overall, I highly recommend this class for people who enjoy literature and want to improve their writing skills.

  12. Zachary Hagerup

    I highly recommend this class for developing writing skills. This was especially a great opportunity to learn how to write large academic papers. This was a great tool for learning many writing skills, which I will continue to use throughout the rest of high school and into college. I appreciated that we had plenty of direction, which included a live class every week, and the ability to email Mrs. Bailes any time we had a question. Another bonus is that while taking this class you are not just learning writing skills, but also reading and studying important novels. This has been one of my top classes this past year.

  13. Debra Kinsman (verified owner)

    I highly recommend Mrs. Bailes’ Introduction to Literature and Academic Writing to students who want to improve their writing skills, as well as learn the tools necessary to succeed in the higher grades. The class was challenging, yet manageable for a dedicated student, and introduced so many wonderful pieces of literature. The children found themselves disappointed the class was coming to an end, yet thankful for all the knowledge they gained throughout the year. Mrs. Bailes is an engaging, supportive instructor who provides a wonderful platform for students to challenge their creative thinking skills, while allowing them to explore the deeper meaning of some amazing pieces of literary works. I highly recommend this class.

  14. Ying-ya Shey (parent) (verified owner)

    This is a wonderful class and a truly blessing for my daughter. Being a novice writer and no prior experience with academic writing, Rachel enthusiastically dove into the class. Her zeal was met with excellent support from Mrs. Bailes. She has blossomed and learned so much through the class. We could not ask for a better class to prepare her for the next language class she will take. Rachel was so looking forward to her classes every week that she grew depressed when there isn’t any. Mrs. Bailes’ lead in classroom discussion is the best I have heard, and I have been in school for 20 years. We highly recommend this class for anyone.

  15. Rachel (verified owner)

    I really enjoyed Mrs. Bailes’ class, “Intro to Literature and Academic Writing.” I learned a lot from the class, especially through the major academic writing projects I undertook throughout the year, and Mrs. Bailes was very helpful and responsive with all my questions; she provided helpful feedback and rubrics. I read interesting books and the class discussions were eye opening. Not only did I learn much about academic writing, I also learned about literary terms to incorporate in writing and use to express myself. I highly recommend this class to students who are looking to improve their knowledge of literature and their academic writing skills.

  16. Natasha (verified owner)

    I am so thankful to have Mrs. Bailes teaching my children. My son took this class a few years ago and it was such a wonderful and challenging class for him that I signed my daughter up for the class and she is taking it currently. My son was always a strong reader but my daughter had some challenges in her reading and writing so I was concerned about her ability to excel in the class but Mrs. Bailes was able to challenge her and increase her love for both reading and writing. I am very thankful for her teaching style and her belief in her students as long as they work hard. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants their student challenged and motivated to write well.

  17. Sheetal Enright (verified owner)

    I am so glad that we picked this class for my ninth grader this year. He is enjoying it tremendously but also learning so much! Growing up in India, I never had formal writing training, so I was never able to give him productive feedback on his writing. Mrs. Bailes’ class has been a real blessing, giving him tools and processes needed to put together a good paper.

  18. Meg Puckett

    This is an excellent course!! In this class, my daughter read several excellent books as well as greatly improved her writing skills.
    Mrs. Bailes provided constant feedback as my daughter worked to improve each paper she wrote. It was obvious that Mrs. Bailes cares deeply about her students and desires for them to grow and succeed.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instructor Bio

Colette Bailes

Colette Bailes has been teaching homeschooled students and supporting home educators for 25 years. She was the founding middle grades English teacher at Creative Home Educators Support Service (CHESS) in Pennsylvania, where she taught fourteen years. Colette homeschooled her own five children: one has completed a doctorate in education, one received a Fulbright research fellowship, one has finished law school, and two who are pursuing business careers. She is known for compassion and warmth as well as the academic excellence she inspires in her students.

View Classes

View Reviews

Email: cbailes[at]