Pre-Advanced Placement English


"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."

Franz Kafka

students working in group

The Advanced Placement Program in English at St. Mary’s High School is an enrichment program that challenges motivated and high-achieving students to pursue their love of communication, including reading, writing, analysis of literature, oral communication and media studies. The program emphasizes a commitment to academic excellence. The long term goal is to sharpen thinking and communications skills so that students are prepared for university. A secondary goal is to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition Course and Exam that takes place in the spring semester of their grade 12 year, which provides them with an opportunity to earn a first year university equivalency credit in English.

What are the Qualities of a Pre-AP English Student?

What the Research Says about AP Students?

Research shows that the best predictor of whether or not a student completes a university degree is not their high school grades or standardized tests. Rather, the best predictor is how many challenging courses a student has taken in high school. Students who challenge themselves with AP courses and exams are much more likely to complete a university degree in four years or less.

How is Pre-AP English Different from Regular Academic or University Level English?

Pre-AP English courses cover the same curriculum expectations as regular academic and university level English courses. However, Pre-AP English classes will work at a quicker pace, have a summer reading assignment, and will study essay writing, poetry analysis, media deconstruction and oral communication at a more in-depth level.

Admission Procedures
"Moira was like an elevator with open sides.
She made us dizzy."

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

smiling students

Admissions for Elementary School Students

Students can enroll in the grade nine ENG 1DP course by being recommended by their grade eight teacher after reviewing the Qualities of a Pre-AP English Student in consultation with colleagues and parents.

Grade eight students and teachers should use the Pre-Advanced Placement Referral From - Gr. 8 Version to assist in the selection procedure for the ENG 1DP course."

Admissions for Current Pre-AP High School English Students

Students who are currently in, or have completed, a Pre-AP English class and wish to continue with this stream of study will be recommended into the next year’s Pre-AP English class based on a recommendation from their current Pre-AP teacher.

The Pre-AP English Courses at St. Mary’s are: Eng 1DP, Eng 2DP, Eng 3UP, Eng 4UP

Admissions for Regular Academic and University Stream English Students

Students in the regular junior academic or senior university English stream can be recommended to join the Pre-AP English stream at any point in their high school career. Entry is based on their achievement in English and a recommendation from their English teacher. See your English teacher for a Pre-AP Teacher Reference Form.

Admissions to the Grade 12 Advanced Placement Course

The ETS 4UP Advanced Placement Literature and Composition course at St. Mary’s has been audited by the American Advanced Placement College Board and recognized by that governing body as meeting the curriculum standards of a first year university course. This course, a culmination of the Pre-AP courses listed above, is offered in second semester and will provide direct preparation for the AP Literature and Composition Exam that is administered in May.

Students with Pre-AP English background are natural candidates for the ETS 4UP Advanced Placement Literature and Composition class, however students with a high level achievement and motivation in the regular ENG 3UI or ENG 4UI are encouraged to apply as well.

Note: Students will be notified by letter of their acceptance into the Pre-Advanced Placement English courses.

ENG1DP - Grade 9 Pre-AP English - Course Overview
"I enjoyed the Wuthering Heights poetry project...it brought out the creativity in my writing."

Sandra Czekajlo

class photo

Summer Reading

The recommended summer reading assignment is Animal Farm by George Orwell. This text will be couriered to the students’ elementary school if they are in the fall section of this course, otherwise this text will be delivered before Christmas if students are in the spring section of this course. An journaling assignment will accompany the reading.

Course Enrichment Modules

Study of Poetry with a focus on:

  • Period - Elizabethan and Modern
  • Stanza Structure - stanza, couplet, triplet, quatrain
  • Rhythm - prosody, foot, feet, iambic meter, trochaic meter
  • Form - free verse, blank verse, lyric, English sonnet, concrete, acrostic limerick, cinquain, haiku
  • Style Devices - trope, metaphor, simile, oxymoron, allegory, hyperbole, pun, paradox, personification
  • Sound Imagery - rhyme, alliteration, onomotopoeia
  • Diction and Tone - levels of diction, poetic diction, denotation, connotation

Study of Essay Writing with a focus on:

  • Form - review the 5-paragraph essay and introduce innovations
  • Using Citations - embedding quotations from primary source
  • Thesis Generation - teacher generated thesis dealing with development of character and/or theme
  • Applying Literary Criticism - formalism, Freudian
  • Language - parts of speech - noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, article

Study of Media with a focus on:

  • demonstrate an understanding and application of media texts, conventions, and techniques as students create a media text of their own in order to identify and deconstruct a modern day myth.

Study of Oral Communication with a focus on:

  • Argument - classical liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geography, music, astronomy); deductive reasoning; categorical syllogisms, conditional syllogisms, disjunctive syllogisms
  • Fallacies - appeal to ignorance/faith/tradition/authority, appeal from omniscience, logos, ethos, pathos
ENG2DP - Grade 10 Pre-AP English - Course Overview
"I really enjoyed the debates and the class discussions...I always felt comfortable."

Jarrod Psutka

class photo

Summer Reading

The recommended summer reading assignment is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A journaling assignment will accompany the novel which will be provided by June.

Course Enrichment Modules

Study of Poetry with a focus on:

  • Period - Elizabethan and Modern
  • Stanza Structure - sestet, octave, Italian quatrain
  • Rhythm - monosyllabic, monometer, dimeter, trimester, anapestic meter
  • Form - epigram, elegy, ode, lament, folk ballad, literary ballad, Italian sonnet
  • Style Devices - traditional symbol, implied metaphor, extended metaphor, understatement, allusion
  • Sound Imagery - euphony, cacophony, assonance, consonance
  • Diction and tone - concrete diction, abstract diction, neologism, paraphrase, syntax, visual imagery
  • Model of Analysis – SOAPSTONE

Study of Essay Writing with a focus on:

  • Form - expand on the five paragraph essay by introducing innovations and works cited
  • Quotations - embedding quotations from primary source
  • Thesis - teacher guided thesis formation
  • Literary Criticism - Aristotle’s Tragic Hero, Joseph Campbell – Hero’s Journey
  • Language - sentence type - interrogative, exclamatory, imperative, declarative; sentence structure – simple, compound, complex
  • Punctuation - ellipsis

Study of Media with a focus on:

  • Style - demonstrate an understanding and application of media texts, conventions, and techniques as students create a media text of their own in order to identify and deconstruct a modern day myth
  • Terms and Concepts - logos, ethos, pathos, font, serif, rule of thirds, shot type, angle, foreground, background

Study of Oral Communication with a focus on:

  • Argument - components of rhetoric (invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery), using evidence, inference, warrants and claims; argumentation using series structure, convergent structure, and parallel structure
  • Fallacies - begging the question, circular reasoning, composition fallacy, false dichotomy
ENG3UP - Grade 11 Pre-AP English - Course Overview
"I enjoyed the independently chosen novel study because it allowed you to set deadlines for yourself and simultaneously expand your ideas with classmates."

Joanna Oszczak

class photo

Summer Reading

The recommended summer reading assignment is The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini. A journaling assignment will accompany the novel which will be provided by June.

Course Enrichment Modules

Study of Poetry with a focus on:

  • Period - Victorian and Modern
  • Stanza Structure – sestet, octave, English quatrain
  • Rhythm – octosyllabic, dactylic meter, spondaic meter, tetrameter, pentameter, hexameter
  • Form – narrative, realistic narrative, dramatic monologue, dialogue poetry, nonce sonnet
  • Style Devices - private symbol, incidental symbol, conceit, Petrarchan conceit
  • Sound Imagery – masculine rhyme, feminine rhyme, triple rhyme, slant rhyme
  • Diction and tone - visual imagery, auditory imagery, tactile imagery
  • Model of Analysis - TPCASTT

Study of Essay Writing with a focus on:

  • Form - multi paragraph development of argument (non-five paragraph essay)
  • Forms of argumentation - analogy, cause and effect, compare/contrast
  • Quotations - Primary and Secondary sources, works cited with multiple sources
  • Thesis - Student driven thesis Language: elevated diction, various sentence structures
  • Literary Criticism - Jungian, Feminism, Miller’s Tragedy of the Common Man
  • Punctuation - parenthesis, elongated dash

Study of Media with a focus on:

  • Style - demonstrate an understanding and application of media texts, conventions, and techniques as students create a media text of their own in order to identify and deconstruct a modern day myth
  • Terms and Concepts - Copy, galley, masthead, slug, spec, stringer, kicker, gutter, pica

Study of Oral Communication with a focus on:

  • Argument - ordering weak-strong arguments, chronological argumentation, spatial argumentation, categorical argumentation, cause-effect argumentation, compare/contrast argumentation
  • Fallacies - ad hominem, equivocation, loaded questions, non sequitur
ENG4UP - Grade 12 Pre-AP English - Course Overview
The literary criticisms were new to me....I really enjoyed starting off the year learning about them."

Joanna Piernicka

class photo

Summer Reading

The recommended summer reading assignment is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. A journaling assignment will accompany the reading which will be provided by June.

Course Enrichment Modules

Study of Poetry with a focus on:

  • Period - Romantic and Post-Modern Stanza Structure – Italian quatrain, Sapphic stanza
  • Rhythm – heptameter, octameter, iambic trimester, trochaic tetrameter, anapestic dimeter, dactylic pentameter
  • Form - epic, rondeau, sestina
  • Style Devices - metonymy, synecdoche, synesthesia, apostrophe
  • Sound Imagery – internal rhyme, anaphora, epistrophe, parallel structure, antithesis
  • Diction and tone - etymology, ellipsis, olfactory imagery, gustatory imagery
  • Model of Analysis - DIDLS >

Study of Essay Writing with a focus on:

  • Form - sophisticated multi-paragraph essay structure
  • Forms of argumentation - definition, example, categorizing, classifying
  • Quotations - primary and secondary sources
  • Thesis - student generated thesis
  • Literary Criticism - Marxist, Pearson
  • Language - academic diction, various complex sentence structures

Study of Media with a focus on:

  • Style - demonstrate an understanding and application of media texts, conventions, and techniques as students create a media text of their own in order to identify and deconstruct a modern day myth
  • Terms and Concepts - Shot types, tracking, panning, pull focus, key lighting, storyboard, shooting axis, back lighting, cinema verite

Study of Oral Communication with a focus on:

  • Argument - resolutions of fact, resolutions of definition, resolutions of value, resolutions of policy; stasis in conjecture, stasis in definition, stasis in quality, stasis in place
  • Fallacies - post hoc, red herring, slippery slope, straw man
ETS4UP - Grade 12 Advanced Placement English - Course Overview
"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts."

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

smiling student

Course Overview

This English course, focusing on British and American writers, and designed for students who love reading, covers several genres and spans artistic periods that span classical Greek Drama up to the contemporary period.

Three organizing principles help structure the activities of this course:

  1. thematic units cluster different genres of literature
  2. a historical / artistic spectrum situates literature within the prevailing values of the period in which it was written
  3. a literary criticism toolkit reveals a series of critical lenses or rhetorical techniques which students apply in their reading and analysis of literature

This course syllabus is predicated on the idea that the interpretation of literature is based on careful observation of how structure, style, theme, diction, voice, etc. operate within the details of a given text to create meaning for the reader.

Course Units

Unit 1: Major Movements in Art and Philosophy Bulletin Board

Unit 2: Developing a Literary Criticism Toolkit

Unit 3: Paradise Lost: Freud and Twentieth Century Alienation

Unit 4: Women Who Run With Wolves

Unit 5: Poets and Revolution

Unit 6: Tragedy and Comedy is All in the Family

Unit 7: Independent Study Unit

The AP Literature and Composition Exam

The AP Exam in Literature and Composition is written in May each year. This course will provide the practice and preparation students need so they can succeed on this international exam.

AP Resources and Links
"I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action."

Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

smiling students

The following links provide students with various academic resources and additional Advanced Placement information:

The Purdue University Writing Lab

Literary Theory and Criticism

Movements and Periods in Art and Philosophy

AP College Board

Misc. Links