Advanced Placement English Language and Composition
Class Information and Syllabus
Montgomery County High School—Mrs. Botts
[email protected]

The purpose of this course is to help students “write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives” (The College Board, AP English Course Description, p. 7). The course is organized according to the requirements and guidelines of the current AP English Course Description, and, therefore, students are expected to read critically, think analytically, and communicate clearly both in writing and in speech.

AP English Language is intended to engage students in becoming skilled readers of prose from various periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Students in AP Language and Composition will work towards an appreciation of the rhetorical and aesthetic dimensions that contribute to rich and effective writing, learning to effectively incorporate those strategies into their own writing. Students are encouraged to take the AP examination in May; after that test, the course will focus on developing students as life-long readers and effective writers who think deeply and analyze critically.

Upon completing the AP English Language and Composition course, students should be able to:
• analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques;
• apply effective strategies and techniques in their own writing;
• create and sustain arguments based on readings, research and/or personal experience;
• write for a variety of purposes
• produce expository, analytical and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex central idea and develop it with appropriate evidence drawn from primary and/or secondary sources, cogent explanations and clear transitions;
• demonstrate understanding of the conventions of citing primary and secondary sources;
• move effectively through the stages of the writing process, with careful attention to inquiry and research, drafting, revising, editing and review;
• write thoughtfully about their own process of composition;
• revise a work to make it suitable for a different audience;
• analyze image as text; and
• evaluate and incorporate reference documents into researched papers.
–Course Description: Advanced Placement English, The College Board (2010)
• The Language of Composition and Rhetoric. Renée H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses, editors (Bedford/St. Martins, 2008)
• 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Samuel Cohen, editor (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004)
• Elements of Literature, Fifth Course. (Holt, Rinehart, Winston 2007)
• Various instructor-provided handouts and texts, to include essays, stories, poems, speeches, journal entries, letters, and assorted photographs, cartoons, and illustrations
• Novels and Plays: Twelve Years a Slave (Solomon Northup), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot), Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (Ehrenreich), The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead (Callahan), Into the Wild (Krakauer), Antigone (Sophocles), one student choice novel (from suggested list) at the end of the year. Students should purchase their own copies of the reading material, either in print or electronic versions, so that they can interact with the texts. AP English Language and Composition is a college-level course, and college courses require students to purchase their texts. Limited numbers of the texts will be available for student check-out. For $45, you can purchase all of the required texts (except Antigone). Make the check out to MCHS-English Department. I will accept orders until August 19.
• Composition book (to keep in class)
• 4x6 or 5/8 notecards (for vocabulary projects. KEEP AT HOME)
• Binder (2”) with loose-leaf paper and the following sections:
o Notes
o Handouts
o Homework
o Writing
o Voice Lessons
• Pencils
• Ink pens (Blue or black only. You MUST get used to using ink pens, as you are required to write in ink on the AP exam.)
• Highlighters (several colors)
• Other materials as needed for class
AP English Language and Composition is structured to integrate reading, composition, and discussion with a series of topical workshops addressing various factors relevant to written, oral, and artistic expression. Readings each quarter will primarily include essays, speeches, letters, and non-fiction selections arranged into thematic units. Some poetry and fiction, including one play, may be covered each semester. Each unit will regularly feature analysis of various forms of communication, including art, film, photography, cartoons, and other media. Each quarter will focus on a specific writing mode: rhetorical analysis, synthesis, argument, and research.
While class discussions will often focus on critical analysis strategies applied to current reading, instructional time will also be devoted to composition, vocabulary, and relevant