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Pre-AP English 1 focuses on the close reading, analytical writing, and language skills that have immediate relevance for students and that will be essential for their future coursework.

Texts take center stage in the Pre-AP English 1 classroom, where students engage in close, critical reading of a wide range of literary and nonfiction works. The course trains the reader to observe the small details within a text to arrive at a deeper understanding of the whole. It also trains the writer to focus on crafting complex sentences as the foundation for writing to facilitate complex thinking and to communicate ideas clearly. 

Areas of Focus

Each Pre-AP course focuses on a small set of discipline-specific instructional priorities that support both teacher practice and student learning within the discipline. These areas of focus reflect research-supported reasoning practices that should receive greater emphasis in instructional materials and assessments than they often do. Pre-AP recognizes that many teachers and schools already embrace these disciplinary practices, and now we’re offering resources that specifically emphasize these areas of focus.

Pre-AP English 1 Areas of Focus:

  • Reading closely: Students read closely and analyze a range of complex literary and informational texts.
  • Valuing evidence: Students value textual evidence and incorporate it effectively in writing and speaking.
  • Noticing language choices: Students understand how writers and speakers use specific words and sentences to move the thoughts, emotions, and actions of readers and listeners.

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across units:

  • Engaging with texts
  • Constructing texts
  • Focusing on language
  • Investigating through research
  • Entering the conversation

Course at a Glance

The table below shows the English 1 course organized by four units of study. Each unit is shaped by a focus area, a collection of high-quality readings, and model lessons that support the readings and focus areas.

Content and focus skills across all units:

  • Close reading
  • Evidence-based writing
  • Vocabulary in context
  • Precise language
  • Collaborative communication
Unit 1: Telling Details
Featured text types: Short stories and visual texts
Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of literary texts
  • Making meaning from visuals
  • Writing a literary analysis
Unit 2: Pivotal Words and Phrases
Featured text types: Poetry and drama
Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of poetry and drama
  • Purposeful revision
  • Oral delivery and dramatic presentations
Unit 3: Compelling Evidence
Featured text types: Essays and arguments
Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of essays and arguments
  • Synthesizing ideas across texts
  • Writing an analysis of an argument
Unit 4: Powerful Openings
Featured text types: Openings from novels
Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of literary texts
  • Analyzing authors' choices
  • Writing a literary analysis

Instructional Resources

Schools that officially implement a Pre-AP course will receive access to instructional resources for each unit. These resources don’t constitute a full day-by-day curriculum. Instead, they provide support and modeling as teachers design instruction for each unit.

Pre-AP English 1 instructional resources include:

  • A course framework, texts, and targeted model lessons that provide examples and support for teaching the course.
  • Pre-AP resources that can be used alongside local school or district materials to address the objectives of the course framework.

Assessments for Learning

Each unit includes many opportunities for meaningful feedback:

  • Curriculum-embedded assessments: short writing tasks scored by teachers 
  • 2 learning checkpoints: short online assessments with automated scoring and reporting
  • 1 performance task: a writing prompt that builds readiness for AP English exams and the SAT essay, with scoring guidelines for teachers
  • A final exam that allows students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills learned throughout the course. This exam is optional.