Advanced Placement Language: Course Overview and Philosophy
(Specific details about each unit are available on BYOC:  hhtp://
Mr. Wells   
School Contact Info: 1-262-238-5824 and/or rwells @         
Class Website:

AP Language and Composition, in addition to offering an engaging learning experience, will equip students for future scholarly endeavors and provoke students’ growth as readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators. In this course, students will become skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts and skilled writers who can compose original essays for a variety of purposes. Both as readers and writers, students will become increasingly aware of the interplay between writers’ purposes, audiences, and subject matters, as well as the ways genre conventions and language choices contribute to original writing.

Close reading skills, synthesis skills, and writing skills, whether expository, analytical, argumentative, persuasive, or creative, are all rooted in an appreciation for the power of words and an understanding of the ability of language to communicate, connect, and transform.  Thus, we will work toward growth on the word level, the sentence level, the paragraph level, and the work-as-a-whole level. 

With this curricular focus in mind, we will build on the foundational idea that learning to read well plays an inherent role in learning to write well. Many colleges and universities offer students who earn a three or better on the AP test as many as six credits for this course and in some cases will allow students who pass to exempt the school’s introductory composition class.  Since these introductory college courses provide skills needed in writing intensive courses in all disciplines across the curriculum, our goal is not only to prepare students to pass the AP test, but also to prepare students to read and write with skill in all their college classes.        

Entering into collegiate level work requires a paradigm shift.  We invite students to progress beyond a typical high school mentality toward the mindset of a college student:  the mindset of a scholar.   In students’ approach to the work they do in this class, we ask for true intrinsic motivation.  This approach will help students move forward in their journey toward the highly effective use of language in college and in life. 

Trimester A

Unit 1:  Finding the Written Voice
& Rhetorical Analysis
Students will receive an introduction to critical and close reading.  They will identify and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.  Readings include prose fiction, informational text, images, prose essays and poetry.

Unit 2:  Argumentation and Persuasion

Students will study styles and techniques of argumentation and persuasion in a variety of genres and learn to craft both argumentative and persuasive texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.  Students will read ­Hamlet by William Shakespeare, analyzing the language for literary merit as well as rhetorical thinking. They will continue to engage in close reading and rhetorical analysis, begin to consider argument as an element of fiction genres, and engage in argumentative writing related to the play.

Trimester B

Unit 1: Satire
Students will study the definition of satire, strategies employed by satirists, and analyze the purpose and effectiveness of this method of argumentation.

Unit 2: The Novel as Argument
Students will read and analyze a novel (e.g., A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens) not only for inherent literary merit, but also for elements of persuasion in the form of theme, satire, social critique, characterization, tone, authorial ideology, etc.

Unit 3: Research and Synthesis

Students will learn to synthesize a variety of sources into coherent original pieces.  They will learn to support a central argument using the most effective evidence from select sources.

Unit 4: College Essay

Students will build upon essay writing skills from Trimester A and apply them for the purpose of writing college essays. The unit will emphasize written voice, style choices, and application of the best rhetorical strategies to fit a particular question.

Trimesters A & B

Grammar Skills & *Vocabulary Study: Embedded Units

* Vocabulary Study will be primarily an independent activity using the online program Membean: Click here to learn more