Amy Rasmussen

AP English Language and Composition

Lewisville High School

Lewisville, TX


Composing (narrative, expository,

analytical, argumentative essays) about a variety of subjects

• Writing that proceeds through several stages or drafts, with revision aided by teacher and peers

• Writing informally (imitation exercises, journal keeping, collaborative writing)

• Writing expository, analytical, and argumentative compositions based on readings

• Reading nonfiction (essays, journalism, science writing, autobiographies, criticism) identify/explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies & techniques

Analyzing graphics and visual images both in relation to written texts and as alternative forms of text themselves

• Developing research skills and the ability to evaluate, use, and cite primary and secondary sources

Conducting research and writing argument papers in which students present an argument of their own; includes analysis and synthesis of ideas from an array of sources

Revising their work to develop vocabulary, sentence structure, organization, use of rhetoric, including tone, voice, diction, sentence structure

AP Lang is a Course in Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the study of persuasion, i.e., the methods that writers use to achieve their intended effects on readers.

“...the AP Program does not mandate the use of any one syllabus or textbook and emphasizes that AP teachers should be

granted the creativity and flexibility to develop their own curriculum…”

AP® English Language and Composition

Teacher’s Guide

“The College Board does not mandate any particular authors or reading list…”

AP® English Language and Composition

Course Overview

Why Not Workshop?

But how?

  • NSTWP Summer Institute
  • Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle

My Students Became Writers

AP Exam Scores

rose 12%

the first year

AP English Lang Exam = Rigorous

Reading (1 hour)

  • five passages with about 55 multiple close questions

Writing (2 hours)

  • three essays
    • rhetorical analysis
    • synthesis
    • argument

“Research consistently shows that

students who receive a score of 3 or higher on AP Exams typically experience greater

academic success in college and have higher graduation rates than

their non-AP peers.”

AP® English Language and Composition

Course Description

However, I believe we must aim higher than a test.

Even a good test.

In Reading Workshop, we:

  • Read every day
  • Talk about books
  • Write about books
  • Are surrounded by books
  • Tweet authors
  • Want to be authors

Children Teenagers learn to read by reading.

“I’ve enjoyed having access to books, and the weekly reading log reminds me that I have to read, but I benefit because I actually enjoy it. And your library, Mrs. Ras, is easier to navigate than the library.” -Doreen

Monitoring Matters

But what about RIGOR?

My favorite objections:

  • Cocktail Parties
  • Equity
  • Cultural Literacy
  • Zone of Proximal Development
  • Colleges will expect it

“We are a nation that teaches its children how to read in the early grades, then forces them during their teenage years to read literary works that most of them dislike so much that they have no desire whatsoever to continue those experiences into adulthood.” Gallo, Donald. English Journal, 2001. “How Classics Create an Aliterate Society”

September 1 to October 30 Soju has read:

  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Runner
  • The House of the Scorpion
  • 1984
  • The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Reading Goal:

“To read 25 books in 2015, my logic being that I can finish 10 books in 5 months, 5 months multiplied by 2 being 10 months and 20 books read, rounding up to 25 books in 12 months.”

Typical Workshop Routine

READ (Conferences)

Book Talks - F & NF

Mini-lesson related to reading or

Craft lesson related to writing


READ (Reading Rate)

Book Convos and/or Notebook Play

Harkness Discussion and/or Mentor Text

(read as readers; read as writers)


Book Clubs Where We Study Craft

Yes, This Thinking!

Please, Join the Conversation:

Our slides NCTE2014 - Google Slides