Intro to Literature and Academic Writing

From: $85.00 / month for 8 months

Grades:  8th–10th (Application is required; please email the instructor for details.)

Live class: Thursdays 6:05–6:55 p.m. EST or Fridays 12:05–12:55 p.m. EST (Choose only one section; designate which section on the comments section of the order form.)

Course dates: August 27th–May 3rd

Price: $599

Instructor: Colette Bailes

Instructor email:


Course Description

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 One: Dystopia novels are used as the framework to understand and evaluate author’s voice, tone and argument, as well as, themes, settings, direct and indirect characterization, satire and allegory.

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 email and Skype.

Live Course Meeting Times: LIVE 1 hour meetings occur weekly. These meetings will consist of lecture material AND interactive discussion time with the students and myself. Although students are highly encouraged to attend, all course meetings are optional and will be recorded for the students’ convenience. Students will also be allowed to contribute to the discussion on the website forum if unable to participate during the live session.

Readiness: (College-bound students grades 8 through 12). 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-12th 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.
  • 32 weeks.
  • To apply, request a student application from the instructor

Prerequisites: None

Optional Lectures/Discussions: 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 6:05pm—6:55pmOR Fridays 12:05pm—12:55pm EST (choose only one section).

Required Texts

Required Texts: It is in the best interest that students purchase the recommended texts so that they may annotate their copies.

First Semester:

  • The Giverby Lois Lowry  ISBN # 0-440-23768-8 (pbk)
  • Fahrenheit 451by Ray Bradbury ISBN # 0-345-34296-8 (pbk)
  • Animal Farmby George Orwell  ISBN # 0-451-52634-1 (pbk)
  • Ender’s Gameby Orson Scott Card ISBN # 0-81255070-6 (pbk)

Second Semester:

  • Everyman and other Miracle & Morality Plays ISBN 0-48628726-2 (pbk)
  • Beowulf (translated by Burton Raffel)  ISBN-13: 978-0393320978 (pbk)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (translated by Burton Raffel) ISBN # 0-34527760-0 (pbk)
  • The Hobbitby J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Outsidersby 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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!!

  10. Leigh Berry

    This was by far the best literature class I have ever taken! The books were interesting and fun to read and Mrs. Bailes’ class discussions and lectures showed me how to look at a book’s themes from multiple angles. The class greatly improved my writing skills and taught me how to write a cohesive thesis statement as well as an organized academic paper, which are skills I will continue to use as I go through highschool and eventually college. Because of Mrs. Bailes’ class, I now genuinely love writing and no longer see it as just another subject I have to pass in order to graduate. I had a lot of fun in this class and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve their critical thinking and/or writing skills!

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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