AP Literature & Composition - Riverside High School
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AP Literature & Composition

AP Literature & Composition

Section #: 1056 (LNG/COMP AP)

Reading in an AP course is both wide and deep. This reading necessarily builds upon and complements the reading done in previous English courses so that by the time students complete their AP course, they will have read works from several genres and periods — from the 16th to the 21st century. More importantly, they will have gotten to know a few works well. In the course, they read deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand a work’s complexity, to absorb its richness of meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form. In addition to considering a work’s literary artistry, students reflect on the social and historical values it reflects and embodies. Careful attention to both textual detail and historical context provides a foundation for interpretation, whatever critical perspectives are brought to bear on the literary works studied.In short, students in an AP English Literature and Composition course read actively. The works taught in the course require careful, deliberative reading. And the approach to analyzing and interpreting the material involves students in learning how to make careful observations of textual detail, establish connections among their observations, and draw from those connections a series of inferences leading to an interpretive conclusion about the meaning and value of a piece of writing.


Most of the works studied in the course are written originally in English, including pieces by African, Australian, Canadian, Indian and West Indian authors. Some works in translation may also be included (e.g., Greek tragedies, Russian or Latin American). Writing assignments focus on the critical analysis of literature and include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays. Although critical analysis makes up the bulk of student writing for the course, well-constructed creative writing assignments may help students see from the inside how literature is written. Such experiences sharpen their understanding of what writers have accomplished and deepen their appreciation of literary artistry. The goal of both types of writing assignments is to increase students’ ability to explain clearly, cogently, even elegantly, what they understand about literary works and why they interpret them as they do. To that end, writing instruction includes attention to developing and organizing ideas in clear, coherent and persuasive language. It includes study of the elements of style. And it attends to matters of precision and correctness as necessary. 

Advanced Placement English Language and Composition is an advanced placement course based on content established by the College Board. An AP course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing.

A comprehensive description of this course can be found on the College Board AP Central Course Description website here.

Recommended Grade Level:  Grade 11 or 12 (College Board does not designate when this course should be offered).

Recommended Prerequisites: English  9 and English 10 or other literature, language, composition, and speech courses or teacher recommendation

Credits: 2 credits, a two-semester course with 1 credit per semester

Fulfills an English/Language Arts requirement for the General, Core 40, Core 40 with Academic Honors and Core 40 with Technical Honors diplomas