AP ENGLISH LANGUANGE and COMPOSITION
COURSE DESCRIPTION and SYLLABUS
The AP English Language and Composition course is designed to prepare students to write effectively and think
critically using non-fiction essays and articles as its primary texts. It provides an opportunity for advanced high
school students to pursue and receive credit for college-level course work completed at the high school level.
Accordingly, the rigors of the course are intended to be commensurate with introductory college-level rhetorical
and composition courses. Students learn to read a variety of prose texts, analyze language and visual media, write
in several forms on different levels about a broad range of topics. Students focus on the writing skills needed to be
successful in the course and in their later college work. Students write effectively for a range of audiences and a
variety of purposes, demonstrate mastery of the conventions of standard written language, and use the steps of the
writing process as needed.
Written work: All work must have student’s full name, date, period, and assignment label.
Papers done outside of class must be typed, double-spaced, have one-inch margins, 12-point font
maximum, (ex. Times New Roman or Arial – something easy to read), numbered pages, and a title.
See MLA Style.
Homework is due when the student enters the classroom
Technical Difficulties: If a student experiences computer/printer problems, he or she should print in the
Media Center before class or in the classroom before school (not at class time) or submit a final draft
written in ink by the deadline in order to receive full credit. This copy is good for one day until the typed
version is submitted. Work written in class should be done in dark ink (blue or black ink only).
Late and Make-Up Work
Students should make every effort to submit all work on time, even if they are ill or absent the day an assignment is
due. Without an excused absence, late work is not accepted. Even with an excused absence on the due date, long-
term assignments (over a week) are penalized when not turned in on time. Missed work must be made up within a
week. Late work will be penalized by ten percent per day reduction in points.
Grades are given for quizzes, tests, homework, presentations, and essays.
Quizzes 20%: Quizzes are used to check reading comprehension, vocabulary and rhetorical terms, and
Daily 20%: Daily grades include class activities, homework assignments, writing practice, peer editing,
and class participation.
Tests 25%: Tests include multiple-choice and analysis questions on novels read outside of class to
measure basic comprehension and understanding of rhetorical devices used by the authors.
Essays 35%: Final copies of essays are graded using the AP 9-point rubric. Rough drafts are self- and
peer-edited before final grading. Rough draft grades are recorded as daily grades.
Plagiarism will result in a zero.
AP Exam given in May will take the place of a final exam.
Warm-up activities focus on grammar, style, and voice. (Activities used come from Voice Lessons, Sentence
Composing for College, The New St. Martin’s Handbook, Advanced Placement Writing 1.) These skills are
practiced in the day’s lesson.
Native Son by Richard Wright – Students will complete an assignment on this book during the first week
of the semester.
Modes of Writing - Students study the seven modes of writing by reading a selection in each mode on the same
topic from the text, Riverside Reader, 8th Ed., and write a précis on each.
Andre Dubus – “Digging” Narration/Description
Paco Underhill – “Shop Like a Man” Comparison/Contrast
Barbara Ehrennreich – “Scrubbing in Maine” Process Analysis
Flannery O’Connor – “Revelation” Division/Classification
William Langewiesche – “American Ingenuity” Definition
John Fleischman – “Homer’s Bones” Cause/Effect
Abraham Lincoln – “Gettysburg Address” Persuasion/Argument
Students demonstrate their understanding of the different modes by writing a 400-500 word essay in each mode on
a single topic of their choice. First drafts are submitted for peer reviews. Students revise papers before submitting
for teacher review and comments. After final revisions are made, papers are submitted for grading.
Timed-writings are used throughout the semester. Students begin by writing on AP Test prompts that have been
read and discussed thoroughly in class. Models of student writing from released tests are used for class discussion
and analysis. After several weeks, students begin writing on unfamiliar passages. These essays are graded using
the 9-point rubric and count as daily work. Teacher comments are kept to a minimum on these papers. Several
times during the semester the students are asked to evaluate their own papers using the syntax analysis chart
suggested in the AP Vertical Teams® Guide for English in order to note areas in their writing styles where
improvements are needed.
Argumentative/Persuasive essay and speech – Students will select a current controversial topic and write a
persuasive essay in which they carefully argue their position. Students meet individually with the teacher to discuss
the topic choice and arguments, and review their first drafts. After completing the essay, students deliver a 3-5
minute speech in which they present their arguments to the class.
Research – After reading All the King’s Men students will research the corruption in politics during the 1930s and
compare it to the level of corruption in politics today. They will discuss how the presence of corruption in
government affects other areas of society (i.e., honesty in advertising, personal relationships). Using a variety of
sources (newspapers, news stories, magazines, online sources, political cartoons) students will write a
5-6 page paper using MLA format.
Students are required to note the author’s thesis, purpose, audience, strategies, appeals, tone, and style for each
assigned reading. The following essays/articles are used for class discussion and analysis and/or as homework
Coca Cola letters – 1998 AP Exam #3
Cat Bill – Adlai Stevenson – 1982 AP Exam #2
“Okefenokee Swamp” – 1999 AP Exam #1
“The Ugly Truth about Beauty” – Dave Barry, Miami Herald, 1998
“Fly the Partisan Skies” – David Brooks, NY Times, April 6, 2004
“from On Seeing England for the First Time” – Jamaica Kincaid, 1999 AP Exam #2
“Conducting” – Igor Stravinski , 1991 AP Exam #1
“The Company Man” – Ellen Goodman, Washington Post, 1979, AP Exam #2
“Why We Can’t Wait” – Martin L. King, Jr., January, 1964
“Day of Obligation” – Richard Rodriguez (1992), 2002 AP Exam #3
Lord Chesterfield’s letter to his son – Bath, 1746, 2004 AP Exam #1
“from Letter from a Birmingham Jail” – Martin L. King, Jr.
“Magna Soles” from The Onion – 2005 AP Exam #2
“from The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History” - Jennifer Price, 2006 AP Exam #1
Synthesis Essay Question, 2007 AP Exam Sample
“On Compassion” – Barbara Ascher
“Why Don’t We Complain” – William Buckley, Jr.
“On Dumpster Diving” – Lars Eighner
“The Gettysburg Address” – Abraham Lincoln
“Just Walk on By: Black Men in Public Spaces” – Brent Staples
“Listening” – Eudora Welty
“The Mullet Girls” – Jill McCorkle
“The Golden Darters” – Elizabeth Winthrop
“Two Views of the River” – Mark Twain
“Cowboys vs. Mounties” – Sarah Vowel
“Shakespeare in the Bush” – Laura Bohannon
“Shop Like a Man” – Paco Underhill
“Doorways: A visual Essay” – Christopher M. Pizzi
“Some Big Ideas Wash Up One Bulb at a Time” – Andrew Revkin
“Peak Performance: Why Records Fall” – David Goldman
“How Reading Changed My Like” – Anna Quindlen
“Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good” – Eric Schlosser
“I Have a Dream” – Martin L. King, Jr.
“A Chinaman’s Chance: Reflections on the American Dream” – Eric Liu
“Stone Soup” – Barbara Kingsolver
“Women and the Future of Fatherhood” – Barbara Defoe Whitehead
“Under the Spell” – Joan Acocella
“Can 35 Million Buyers be Wrong?” Harold Bloom
Sudents are expected to be in dress code with ID visible, seated and ready to work when the bell rings,
with pen or pencil, paper, homework, and book.
Students will need a one-inch 3-ring binder with dividers, loose-leaf notebook paper, pencil or pen (blue or
black ink only).
Students must bring their student daily planner/passbook to class every day. They may not be excused
from the classroom without it.
NO FOOD OR DRINK (except water) in the classroom. NO GUM.
I have read and understand the syllabus for World Literature. I understand that Mrs. Taylor is available for after-school help on Tuesday and
Thursday of each week and that it is my responsibility to seek help as I need it for completion of my assignments. I understand that it is
my responsibility make up all work missed due to absences. I also agree to abide by the class policies.
Student Signature Date Parent Signature Date