beginning of content:



Pre-AP English 1 focuses on the reading, 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, inspiring and preparing all students for close, critical reading and analytical writing. The course trains the reader to observe the small details in a text to arrive at a deeper understanding of the whole. It also trains the writer to focus on crafting complex sentences, building this foundational skill en route to more sophisticated, longer-form analyses.

Areas of Focus

The Pre-AP English areas of focus are practices that students develop and leverage as they engage with content. These areas of focus are vertically aligned to the practices embedded in other English courses in high school, including AP, and in college, giving students multiple opportunities to strengthen and deepen their work with these skills throughout their education. These areas of focus help to identify and prioritize the practices that are so fundamental to the study of English that they occur consistently throughout the full course of study. 

Pre-AP English 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.

Course at a Glance

The tables below show the English 1 course organized by four units of study.

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are integrated across all units:

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


Underlying Unit Foundations

Genre Focus: Short stories and visual texts

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of short fiction and visual images
  • Analyzing how authors use specific details to convey meaning
  • Writing complex sentences and analytical paragraphs

Performance task: Analyzing telling details in a one-paragraph analysis of short fiction

Genre Focus: Poetry and drama

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of poetry and drama
  • Analyzing authors’ stylistic choices
  • Writing analytical sentences and multi-paragraph analyses

Performance task: Analyzing pivotal words and phrases in a multi-paragraph analysis of a poem or drama excerpt

Genre Focus: Essays and arguments

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of nonfiction essays and arguments
  • Analyzing rhetorical features and making comparisons across texts
  • Writing analytical sentences and essays

Performance task: Analyzing an argument in a written essay

Genre Focus: Openings of novels

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of literary texts
  • Analyzing narrative perspectives, characterization, and setting
  • Writing a literary analysis

Performance task: Writing a literary analysis essay

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 for teachers as they design instruction for each unit.

Pre-AP English 1 instructional resources include:

  • A robust set of model lessons that demonstrate how to translate the course framework, shared principles, and areas of focus into daily instruction.
  • Curated texts and targeted lessons for approximately 50% of the instructional time that prioritize the analytical reading and writing skills essential for the performance tasks and future AP and college courses. Pre-AP resources that can be used alongside local school or district materials to address the objectives of the course framework.
  • Additional support resources include Distance Learning Companion Slides and audio recordings of student texts that accompany the teacher and student instructional materials for use in synchronous and asynchronous settings.

Assessments for Learning

Each unit includes many opportunities to understand student progress and provide meaningful feedback:

  • In-lesson formatives: short writing tasks in which students demonstrate understanding of a text or concept discussed in class (scored by teachers).
  • 2 learning checkpoints: short online assessments in which students apply learning to texts not studied in class (automated scoring and reporting).
  • 1 performance task: a written response to a text not studied in class that helps students build readiness for AP English Exams (scored by teachers, with provided scoring guidelines).
  • A final exam is provided as a summative assessment that allows students to demonstrate their success on the skills and content outlined in the course frameworks. This exam is optional.


Quill Logo and College Board have worked together to create a series of research-based sentence-combining activities aligned to texts from each Pre-AP English 1 instructional unit. Pre-AP English 1 teachers have access to Writing Skills Surveys and Passage-Aligned Quill Connect practice to support differentiation within their classroom. Our recommendation is to assign Writing Skills Survey first, then take advantage of the passage-aligned activities after reading texts within the lessons to deepen conceptual understanding of the writer’s moves and expose students to additional ideas not in the lesson. 

Quill provides practice in many areas of sentence writing from comma placement and subject-verb agreement to the use of conjunctions to convey complex relationships between ideas. In the Quill Connect tool, students practice writing different types of sentences using the evidence-based strategy of sentence combining. Students receive specific, targeted feedback that they can use to revise their writing. Through these activities, students practice writing a variety of sophisticated sentences and conveying complex ideas in clear, succinct, and grammatically strong ways. Most activities are designed to be completed in 10–15 minutes.

Visit the Quill Official Pre-AP English Practice page to view all the resources that have been custom-built for Pre-AP English.

Wordplay Shakespeare Logo

The New Book Press and College Board have partnered to provide all Pre-AP teachers and students with access to WordPlay™ Shakespeare for Romeo and Juliet (Pre-AP English 1) and Macbeth (Pre-AP English 2). WordPlay eBooks are internet-based complete editions of Shakespeare’s plays, with filmed professional performances of each play “on the page” next to the text, together with glossaries, extra support, and integrated Pre-AP materials.

Visit the WordPlay Pre-AP page for more information and further resources.