AP English 4 Syllabus

Instructor: Ms. Andrews                 Fall 2018
Room 329 School Phone: 336-229-0909 ext. 7563 Email: aandrews@rivermill-academy.org

Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition

Course Description

Advanced Placement Literature and Composition is a college-level course taken in the Fall semester of a student’s senior year.  It is designed to teach beginning college-writing through the fundamentals of rhetorical theory and follows the curricular requirements described in the AP English Course Description.  Students will earn the one credit for English IV that goes towards their graduation requirements upon successful completion of the class; however, the course is weighted on a six-point scale in regards to their grade point average (GPA).  Students will have the opportunity to take the AP exam in May, and depending on their score, they have the opportunity to earn college credit.  The AP exam for this course consists of two parts:  multiple choice (55 questions answered in 60 minutes) and essay (3 essays written in 120 minutes). 

This course will be full of opportunities for students to expand their analytical skills and knowledge of literary culture.  It is best to be aware that the class is demanding, and that it will require quite a lot of time outside of the 1 ½ hour class.  It is important to realize that students will never be without a reading assignment or an outside paper due date.    The assigned readings will be difficult, yet entertaining, and will (most importantly) make students THINK!  There will be lots of writing (on topics related to the readings and on analyzing them), lots of vocabulary, and class discussions daily. 

We will discuss a literary element and/or an aspect of writing on a daily basis.  Class participation is definitely a must in reaping the full rewards of being enrolled in such a course.  If a student must miss a class (due to illness or an appointment), they must arrange to attend afterschool hours and make sure to stay on top of assignments for when they return to class. 

Course Objectives

The primary goal of this class is to refine students’ reading and writing skills in preparation for their transition to the collegiate level. 

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • interpret literary works – by generating ideas about the works and using the text to support and prove their points.
  • recognize and use the four kinds of literary evidence:  direct quotes, paraphrases, summarized actions, and opinions of competent critics
  • apply critical theory to the study of literature
  • explicate a text to show understanding of it
  • connect works thematically through comparison and contrast
  • identify the tone, mood, and/or perspective of a particular text by looking at stylistic choices

    At the end of the course students will have:

  • improved writing skills – through organization of materials and varying sentence structure
  • improved discussion skills – through mature behavior and participation with well-thought and interesting observations and analysis of the materials
  • been exposed to the format, rhetorical strategies, and style of the AP Exam
  • practiced completing a style analysis essay in forty minutes or less

    At the end of the course, students will know:

  • that the literature of a society can act as a mirror of what that group thinks and feels; it can also reflect qualities about the person who is interpreting it as well.
  • that writing is a form of communication that has no boundaries if the reader is willing to put effort into reading and analyzing it.
  • that literature deals with universal themes that apply even to their lives today.


Thomas R. Arp ~ Perrine’s Literature:  Structure, Sound, and Sense 13th edition

Burton Raffel, translator ~ Beowulf

Geoffrey Chaucer ~ The Canterbury Tales

William Shakespeare ~ Hamlet

William Golding ~ Lord of the Flies

George Orwell ~ 1984 & Animal Farm 

Students get to choose one extra novel for a total of 7 novels 

In-Class Handouts (Students should keep all assignments and create a portfolio as a study tool for boot camps during spring semester.)


*  means recommended, but not required

  • Binder with dividers (2” recommended; sections include Literary Terms, Flash Poetry, Returned Quizzes, Returned Essays and Returned Tests)
  • Loose-leaf paper, college ruled
  • Black ink pens
  • Pencils
  • Several packs of index cards (for flash cards and research note cards)
  • *a pack of markers (Crayola, Sharpie, etc)
  • *USB drive (jump drive, travel drive) with at least 256mb of storage


Many students who enroll in this course will be used to earning A’s and B’s in every class they have taken.  Students should not fret about their grade averages; instead, they should focus on completing quality work on each and every assignment.  If this is done, they should continue to earn the grades that they are used to.  However, if a student fails to complete assignments (or does them half-heartedly), he/she should learn to accept the consequences of the choices made. 

As previously stated, all major writing assignments will be evaluated with a set rubric that students will have prior access to.  Because several major projects include many different steps, there will often be grades given for parts of an assignment before the entire project receives credit. 

Question values for test and quiz questions will be included in the instructions for each individual assignment. 

Type of Assignment

Percent Value

Tests and Major Assignments


Notebooks and Journals 




Homework and Classwork


Reading & Writing Assignments

Reading Assignments

Each and every assigned reading should be taken seriously.  Without having closely read the material on their own, students will not easily be able to participate in the class activities that relate to the reading.  In order to actually gain anything from being in an AP level course, students need to be responsible enough to have read the material promptly and with care.  They must use the course calendars to plan their schedule so that they are able to complete each assignment. 

Students will read a wide range of literature that spans the history of British literature.  The readings represent many different genres (poetry, short stories, novels, and drama).  This will allow them to build an understanding of the many dimensions of literature and the human experience. 

Writing Assignments

The “major” papers will be examined for effective word choice, inventive sentence structure, effective overall organization, clear emphasis, and effective argument.  Students will have the opportunity to practice the skills needed on the AP Exam through free-response essay style questions during in class timed writings and in the essay questions that accompany unit tests.  These critical essays will be based on close textual analysis of structure, style (figurative language, imagery, symbolism, tone), and social/historical values.  Feedback will be given on writing through peer review, and there will be several opportunities for students to improve their skills by re-writing major assignments. 

The “lesser” writing assignments will come in several different formats (such as writing to understand, to explain, and to evaluate).  “Flash Poetry” (a quick read and analysis of a poem) will occur almost daily to help students learn what to look for when analyzing and to practice staying focused on a topic for a specific amount of time.  “QuickWrites” will be done on a regular basis.  These writings will be short, yet they will allow students to logically determine a response to questions of plot, characterization, and/or theme.  They will also be used to initiate class discussions.  The other common type of brief writing assignment will be “Short Answer” questions on unit tests.

Students will be writing both creative and critical assignments throughout the course of the semester.  Because students will be learning how to interpret the techniques of art used in literature, it is also important for them to apply the same techniques in their own work.