AP English Literature Course Policies and Expectations

    Ms. Hildbold email:  Julie.hildbold@lcps.org




    Anchor Novels this year will be:

    Poisonwood Bible  novel by Barbara Kingsolver

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe


    The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

    Fences by August Wilson

    Othello  by Shakespeare

    General Description

     A.P. Literature is a class that requires strong reading skills.This AP English Literature course is designed to teach beginning-college writing through the fundamentals of literary and rhetorical theory. It follows the curricular requirements described in the AP English Course Description. We will talk essentially every day about some key aspect of writing.  In terms of your own writing, think of this as a place where you will further develop your own writing through experimentation with various kinds of writing. The kinds of writings in this course are varied but include writing to practice and to apply literary devices, writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate. All critical writing asks that you evaluate the effectiveness of a literary piece, but to be an effective evaluator, one must understand and explain.



    Because so much of the course involves discussion, your presence and involvement are required.  Your grade will be impacted by unexcused absences, tardiness, and lack of participation.  Read  and enjoy the incredibly rich literary pieces with an open mind and actively engage in writing and discussion.


    1.              LEADING CLASS DISCUSSIONS:   I often divide the class into groups.   Each team will be responsible for taking the lead in class discussion, at least twice, on a rotating basis per quarter.  “Taking the lead” means giving an informal yet effective presentation and preparing topics and questions that will facilitate discussion of the day’s material.  Brief handouts, excerpts, or short power points are permitted. The focus should be on discussion.


    2.              READING RESPONSES AND PEER RESPONSES:  You will, on a frequent basis, write short responses to some aspect of the reading such as connotation, tone, diction, style and how it conveys theme.  Your Peer Response Group will read and respond in writing to what you write.  The combination of these is worth up to 50 points—20 for your reading response and 10 for thoughtful responses to members of your group.  The reading response initiates discussion, deeper thinking and also functions as a quiz grade.


    a.     LITERARY CRITICISM:  You will be provided articles of literary criticism which elaborate upon ideas in the novel.  I often ask you to annotate and respond to these.  My experience is that reading literary criticism prepares students for both the AP test and for clearer and more purposeful writing on tests.   For example, after reading Crime and Punishment  there will be ancillary readings on the psychology of the characters, motives and symbols, radical thought in Russia at the time and other articles that deepen your understanding of the novel.  These readings are as important to the class as the reading of the novels themselves.  


    3.              PREPARATION FOR THE AP TEST


    a.     Writing Improvement I use a series of exercises in writing called “Master Classes” which is based upon the premise that students can find no better examples of excellence in writing than those provided by the literature they are studying.  These “master examples” in each lesson are drawn from the masterpieces of literature.   Writing is a craft. This word was inspired by the “guild” system of medieval times.  A young person wishing to become proficient in a craft would begin at the apprentice level, studying under a “master” to develop the rudiments of the craft.  The young person would spend time in practice and eventually achieve the level of journeyman further improving proficiency; and finally after diligent study and practice achieve the level of craftsman.  The practitioner still faced the final challenge of producing a masterpiece before being recognized before the guild as an official master of the craft.  The exercises we use in AP Literature become gradually more difficult and demanding of you as a writer.


    b.     Nailing the Multiple Choice Sections:  the multiple choice questions challenge a student’s understanding of a wide variety of literary concepts and terms.   The questions deal with tone, terms, author’s attitude, etc. and proficiency comes with extensive practice.  You will have homework every week in practice for this this critical aspect of close-reading and it will absolutely develop your skill on the AP multiple choice section. 


    See for previously released tests and for details on the actual test:  http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/exam/exam_information/2002.html




    The AP English Literature and Composition Exam employs multiple-choice questions and free-response prompts to test students’ skills in literary analysis of passages from prose and poetry texts.

    Format of Assessment

    Section I: Multiple Choice | 60 Minutes | 55 Questions | 45% of Exam Score

    •    Includes excerpts from several published works of drama, poetry, or prose fiction

    •    Each excerpt is accompanied by several multiple-choice questions or prompts

    Section II: Free Response | 120 Minutes | 3 Free-Response Questions | 55% of Exam Score

    •    Students have 120 minutes to write essay responses to three free-response prompts from the following categories:

    ◦                      A literary analysis of a given poem

    ◦                      A literary analysis of a given passage of prose fiction

    ◦                      An analysis that examines a specific concept, issue, or element in a work of literary merit selected by the student




    Choice Reading Options


    Heart of Darkness novella by Joseph Conrad


    Wuthering Heights  novel by Emily Bronte

    Metamorphosis  Novella by Franz Kafka



    Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

    Notes of a Native Son - James Baldwin

    Beloved - Toni Morrison

    No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

    All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy


    The Sun Also Rises  - Earnest Hemingway

    The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

    Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 

    Hamlet  Shakespeare

    Dante's Inferno  - from Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy.




    1.     Store notes and handouts in a very organized and permanently retrievable fashion both in print and on laptop. Make a folder on laptop for AP LIT that has separate folders for each assignment/unit  which includes fiction: novels and short stories; poetry; plays; literary devices and terms.   For hard copy handouts you will need good, solid 3- ring-binders.  Just stuffing things in a “folder” is not acceptable. Once I have placed handouts on Vision or handed out in class, do not expect me to hunt for copies that you cannot find.  Assignments will be on Vision however large handouts may not be.

    2.     Have a spiral notebook to use as a note-taking. It should be something you can turn in as in turning in the whole notebook.  Don’t share it with another subject like history or math—it should be dedicated to AP Lit.

    3.     Date all of your work.  I will show you the MLA format which will be followed consistently.

    4.     Write  in blue or black ink for homework or timed writings..  Pencil is not acceptable and rarely readable. This is normal protocol for college so we will start this now.

    5.     Formal papers & essays  written outside of class will be typed  submitted to “Turnitin.com”

    6.     Portfolio of work.  Keep a separate portfolio or section in notebook  of all drafts and  graded “finals” – essays, papers, notes, etc.   This portfolio must be retrievable because at least once per semester I like to review the entire portfolio and chart your progress.  I am looking for quantity, quality, and most importantly, progress.

    7.     You are expected to actively take notes in class preferably in your binder, notebook, or journal.  .

    8.     Be prepared every day with whatever books, notebooks, journal, handouts needed for class.  When in doubt ask.  I will try to keep this clear in class and on boards. Vision is a resource guide and contains handouts but is not very reliable as a day-to-day calendar as the pace depends on my classes.  Be prepared for writing daily such as a response to the previous reading assignment. Black or blue ink only.   (other colors may be used for editing only)  Also useful are post-its for marking passages.  Blue/Black ink is standard in MLA.  I am teaching you college expectations for format and style not only literature. Writing in pencil in college humanities courses is not standard.

    9.     Reading quizzes are inevitable and have depth. Expect to write often about the readings.  Read the author’s original text.  Cliff’s Notes, Spark Notes and other study guides will ruin the novel, play or poem for you.  It will limit your own thinking and certainly give away the plot.  Rewriting ideas from those sources and are considered infractions of academic honesty.  Take responsibility for your own knowledge and education.  I will direct you to literary criticism as a source for deeper understanding of the texts.

    10.  Academic honesty:  Anytime an external source is used you must acknowledge your source, otherwise it’s plagiarism or some form of it.  Plagiarism or cheating carries a minimum penalty of zero on the assignment.  In all cases academic dishonesty will be reported to parents and counselor.  Do not turn in work that is identical to your classmate.  This is a form of academic dishonesty. 

    11.  End of Grading period.  The official end of grading period is on the LCPS calendar.  I do not accept work after that date.  I rarely give incompletes.  The grade of “I” (incomplete) may be given only to a student whose work in the course is satisfactory except that some terminal aspect of the course requirement has not been completed in the final weeks.

    12.  Formal papers/essays must follow MLA format. I will give you a link to the MLA 2015 guidebook via my personal subscription.  Another source that is limited but useful is Owl@purdue, an online writing lab.

    13.  Formal papers/projects are due on the assigned due date to be submitted in class at that time.  Often they will be due on turnitin.com and there is a hard deadline in that if you miss the deadline you cannot turn it in.

    14.  Homework:  Due on the date assigned at the start of class.  Late work is docked 25%.

    a.     Students must be prepared to make up tests, quizzes, or labs or make arrangements to make them up the day they return from being absent.  Students are expected to email teachers concerning absences.  Tests/quizzes must be made up within the number of days equal to days absent. Students should expect different versions of tests for make up tests and different prompts, etc.  Do not expect to make up quizzes or tests during class.  See me at 8:30 am of the day after you missed class. If you have been absent you absolutely have missed something.  Extensive absences will negatively impact learning and therefore, your grade.

    15.  Homework is a significant component to the class and is needed to be prepared for class discussions.  It is not unusual in an AP lit class to have both written work and an average of 125-175  pages of reading per week. Failure to provide on-time homework or presentations impacts the entire class.   It is your responsibility to plan ahead and make sure you have the technology, printer ink, and other resources ahead of time so that when due date arrives you are not taken by surprise.  Computer problems and mishaps are not legitimate excuses in this class or for any college class. Avoid excuses.  Extensions are rarely given.

    16.  Proper ways to submit work:  I will always assign a paper well in advance and let you know if  you should use Turnitin.com or Google docs. 

    17.  You will also be asked to write marginal notes, take notes in class, read articles and literary criticism (which is challenging) and write responses to these.  There will also be vocabulary (185 literary terms) and quizzes on these terms.

    18.  Advanced Placement Literature and Composition is a college-level course.  It will involve a great deal of reading and work, but I hope it will be enjoyable and stimulating. You will read the some of the worlds greatest literature in this course. The main goals of the course are to broaden and deepen your knowledge of literature, your critical and analytical thinking, and your writing skills. 

    19.  About 40%  the course is the study of poetry.

    20.  The keys to success:  faithfully keep up with the reading and daily assignments, actively think about and react to the literature, dialogue intelligently with your classmates, and consciously work on your writing and multiple choice testing skills.

    21.  Academic Honesty

    a.     All work must represent the effort of the individual who hands in the work and who will receive the grade for the work.  Unless I give  you specific written permission to collaborate on an assignment, work independently.  

    b.     All essay and writing assignments should be your own work; they should represent your original ideas.  Following the proper format and using correct documentation for any sources you may use (as provided in MLA) will help protect you from unintentional plagiarism. We will review MLA throughout the year.

    c.     During tests make sure your posture and behavior communicate your integrity and innocence.  Keep eyes focused on your own desk and make sure the area around and under your desk is clear of any materials that may cause suspicion.   Do not share information about tests or quizzes.  This is a form of academic dishonesty.

    d.     Much of your learning in this class will be collaborative, and come as you are working through your readings, homework, and class/group discussions.  However, unless an assignment is specifically designed to be collaborative, you are expected to do your work yourself, individually, without assistance.  Use of resources, again, such as sparksnotes/cliffs notes, etc. is a form of academic dishonesty when used in place of your thinking and writing. It is a form of plagiarism.   Think independently.

    e.     Cell phone use in class is rude.  During tests it considered cheating. 




    Our objectives for this year are to help you become very highly skilled in---

    ·      understanding, analyzing, and evaluating the structure, style, themes, and historical contexts of a wide range of literature

    ·      planning, writing, and revising expository, analytical, and argumentative essays, both formal and informal

    ·      using a variety of sentence structures, including subordination and coordination, logical organization, and effective use of rhetoric

    ·      developing and using a significantly expanded, wide-ranging vocabulary

    ·      developing skills to collect, organize, analyze, cite, and present information in written and oral research projects

    ·      planning, creating, presenting, and critically observing oral presentations

    ·      applying literary terms, including figurative language, imagery, symbolism & tone, in analysis of literature and drama

    ·      using technology to access, organize, and present information

    ·      responding successfully to major standardized tests in English



    The course focuses on 3 major, related activities: improving your writing skills, expanding your vocabulary, and helping you understand, analyze, synthesize and communicate about literature. 

    With respect to writing activities, there is extensive instruction in word use (including word selection, variety, clichés, and specificity), sentence construction (syntax, including sentence variety, clause subordination and coordination, and structure), paragraph development (including organization, repetition, transitions, and emphasis), and essay design (including invention, thesis statements, illustrative detail and evidence, rhetoric, tone, and voice). You will have many opportunities to write informal work, and formal descriptive, analytical, and argumentative essays.  Indeed, you will write almost every day for a variety of purposes, on different topics, formally and informally, in extended analyses, and in timed, in-class responses. You will have an opportunity to read and discuss the best essays written by your colleagues and others. Additionally, the course includes research and long essays designed to improve your skills in evaluating, using, and citing primary and secondary sources.

    In addition and related to writing and reading effectively, you will expand your reading and writing vocabularies significantly.  We use the Vocabulary Workshop by Sadlier-Oxford to expand usage expose you to vocabulary in usage and testing.  Finally, you will read extensively from a large variety of demanding literary works from different genres and time periods---approximately two novels/plays per quarter as well as numerous related short stories and poems at the same time. The literature is designed for active class discussion mostly in the form of Socratic Seminars and your writing on its historical and social context, structure, style, technique, and themes. Importantly, you will build upon and apply your knowledge of literary concepts and terms in class discussion and writing.  Different theories of literary criticism will be the lenses through which analysis is learned and applied.


    High school has its own unique requirements regarding grade-floors, number of assignments per quarter, etc.  You will have many opportunities to show your abilities and understanding, both for practice and instruction, and for a grade. There will be both formative and summative assessments.  Some of these opportunities include essays, homework, oral presentations, Socratic seminars, class discussions and participation, group work, quizzes: most of this is graded. 


    Grading of Writing

    AP Essays range from 9 (tops) to 2 (bottom)


    AP Score

    HHS Grade




    Very persuasive, on point, clear analysis, keenly perceptive, insightful, apt and specific text references, clear, sophisticated writing, exceptional diction & syntax, adequate length, perfect mechanics.



    Reasonably effective analysis, competent, less thorough and precise than above, very good insight, references the text.



    Tends to be superficial or undeveloped, thin support, reliance on paraphrase, vague and formulaic answers, marred by mechanical errors.



    Inadequate analysis and weak understanding of question and/or literature, partial answers, inadequate length, unconvincing or irrelevant arguments, weak support, many mechanical errors.



    Weaknesses of above, pervasive errors, significant misreading, unacceptably brief, little or no support.


    Text Box: Please be aware that an “A” is representative of EXCELLENT work, regardless of percentage.“B” is good, above average“C” is solid, average work“D” is marginal, many errors“F” is a failure to meet the requirements of assignments	Letter GradeA+AA-B+BB-C+CC-D+DD-F	Percentage98-10093-9790-9287-8983-8680-8277-7973-7670-7267-6963-6660-620-59


    Books Required

    Textbook:        Kennedy, X.J., and Dana Gioia. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005.



    Novels:                        on-line purchase - Amazon- purchase used copies. Maybe use Kindle but expectation is that you maintain annotations in some form.


    Supplies Required

    See materials listed below.  In addition, students will need access to a computer for research and typed assignments.  Students are responsible for properly backing up their work on a flash drive, CD, or in Cloud.  Save all work please!!

    ·      Blue/Black Pen

    ·      Binder & loose-leaf paper

    ·      Dividers: Important Documents, Poetry, Prose, Writing & Grammar, and Vocabulary

    ·      Sticky notes (several pads of varying sizes and colors—especially if you organize by color-coding)

    ·      Flash drive

    ·      Personal copies of novels  is preferred  

    ·      Box of tissues (would be most appreciated by everyone if your family can manage to donate a box)

    You are strongly encouraged to purchase books in which to write notes and annotate the text. Please note that any books issued to you are your responsibility.  Take good care of your books and remember that if you damage or fail to return a book you must pay to replace it.

    Classroom Policies

    In order to create a climate in which everyone can learn, you are expected to respect yourself and others.  You are expected to follow all school and class rules:  be honest, be prepared, be punctual, be cooperative, and make the taxpayers proud.   I will work with you on relearning any policy you neglect, and obviously must consider the needs of the majority of the class and fairness.

    Class Attendance

    Attendance is crucial to your success. Stay healthy and make good choices.  The consequences for unexcused tardiness and absences are severe and stressful.  Missing class means you have missed discussions, ideas, activities and the opportunity to participate.







Last Modified on June 6, 2019