Intro to Literature and Academic Writing (2nd Semester)

From: $115.00 / month for 3 months

Grades:  8th-10th
Live Class: Thursdays 6:05-6:55 PM EST

Instructor: Colette Bailes



Course Description

LIVE 1 hour meetings via the WebEx Meeting Center will occur weekly on Thursday evening at 6 PM EST. These meetings will consist of lecture material AND interactive discussion time with students. Although you are highly encouraged to attend, all course meetings are optional and will be recorded for your listening convenience. You will also be allowed to contribute to the discussion on the website forum if you are unable to participate during the live session.

Readiness: (College-bound students grades 8 through 10). This course lays the foundation for all college prep high school English classes. Following the completion of this class, students are well prepared for either Creative Writing or Pre-AP English. It is aligned with skills and content covered in both AP English Language and AP English Literature. This course will also help prepare students for the critical reading passages on the SAT college entrance exam and SAT Subject Tests.

  • Open to students in 8th-10th grade
  • College-preparatory class leading to Pre-AP class and future AP English coursework
  • Students should be ready to begin working toward college level reading and responsibility
  • Weekly assignments and class notes posted Mondays.
  • 16 weeks.
  • To apply, request a student application from the instructor

Prerequisites: None

Optional Web-ex Lectures/Discussions: Web-ex discussions are optional and they are recorded each week for students to review as necessary. Other course lessons will be recorded and available for students to playback at their convenience. Live sessions will occur on Thursdays 6-7 PM EST.

Description: This English class will give students the opportunity to improve and practice skills that will enable them to succeed in future Pre-AP and AP classes. This class will expose students to the activities required by the AP program. As students are introduced to these activities, they will also become familiar with the expectations of the exam.

Semester Two: During the second semester of this course, students will use the framework of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ and analyzing archetypes in order to learn how to evaluate narrative prose and fiction through structure and characterization. Analysis will include identifying the elements of literature such as plot, structure and style, point of view, symbols, allegory and fantasy. Students will learn literary terms and use that terminology in class discussions and on individual written and performance assessments. Students will learn various literary devices to include alliteration, allusions, archetypes, foreshadowing, figurative language, imagery and kennings.

Writings: Writing is a key component that will extend throughout both semesters of this course. Students will learn different aspects of writing and its structure to include: thesis statements, transitions, introductions, conclusions and the five paragraph essay. The students will learn concepts and the related skills of organization, outlining, forming a frame of reference and sense of purpose, tone, maintaining objectivity, being logical and formatting essays. Assignments will focus on incorporating the critical analysis of literature by implementing the writing elements necessary for a convincing essay. The course requires students to write descriptive, comparison and analytical essays about literature. All essays should be typed and follow MLA guidelines which will also be taught in the course.

Communications: Course instruction occurs through the website, e-mails, and my contribution to the forums. I will also assign the viewing of podcasts and short video clips to explain course concepts as needed. I am available to students through g-chat and Skype.

Technical needs: Google Account. Broadband, high speed Internet and an e-mail account that accepts large files. Weekly assignments are downloaded as PDF files from the website.

Time Commitment: The qualified student will spend 5-7 hours per week on this class. This includes time for reading the assigned texts, answering review questions, and discussing class work and reading assignments with others in the forums.

Class Meeting Time: Students do not “meet” at a scheduled time, but all homework is due via e-mail by Friday evenings, midnight (your time zone). I update the website with weekly assignments every Monday morning.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the use of someone’s’ words or interpretations without giving credit to the author of those words or ideas. Proper documentation style will be covered thoroughly in class; therefore, students will know how to avoid this grave offense.

Major Project: Students will complete a major project/essay each grading period. Students will be required to produce a multimedia presentation based on a novel of their choosing delineating the protagonist’s fulfillment of the stages of the ‘Hero’s Journey’. The presentation will involve text, graphics and sound tract to support their project using available technology. There will be no specific software requirements; students may use ANY software available to them. Recommended is Power Point or Prezi.

Late Work: Will be penalized on a sliding scale based according to the days past due and will not be accepted after ten days. After ten days past due, the student will receive a ‘0’ for the assignment.

Required Texts


Reading for the second semester:

Everyman and other Miracle & Morality Plays                ISBN 0-48628726-2 (pbk)

Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney                                         ISBN-13: 978-0393320978 (pbk)

ISBN-10: 0393320979 (pbk)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 

translated by Burton Raffel                                                                ISBN  # 0-34527760-0 (pbk)

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien                                                            ISBN # 978-0-618-15082-3 (pbk)

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton                                                             ISBN # 0-14240733-X (pbk)   

Note to Parents:  Most of these books are available used from Since I encourage my students to annotate their texts, please feel free to purchase a used book (some can be found for as little as a penny plus $3.99 shipping and handling). If you already have a translation of this book at home—use it.  If we find out later there are slight variations, we’ll deal with it.

Also, this is the order we will be using the books in my class. Books do not need to be purchased all at once.


  1. Kathryn Gomes

    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. –M.P. in VA (parent)

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Instructor Bio

Colette Bailes

This will be the sixth year Mrs. Bailes has taught for AIM Academy. 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: two are currently pursuing doctoral degrees, one received a Fulbright research fellowship, one has finished law school, and the youngest will graduate from college in 2016. She is known for compassion and warmth as well as the academic excellence she inspires in her students.

Intro to Literature and Academic Writing



All classes taught by Colette Bailes