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Pre-AP English 1 focuses on the close reading, analytical writing, and language skills that have immediate relevance for students across their current courses and that are most essential for their future work in high school, college, and careers.

Texts take center stage in the Pre-AP English 1 classroom, where students engage in close, critical reading of a wide range of materials. 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 communicate ideas clearly. 

Areas of Focus

Pre-AP English 1 emphasizes the following instructional priorities:

  • 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 tabs below show 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 lesson sets that support the readings and focus areas.

Content and Skills focus across all units:

  • Close reading
  • Evidence-based writing
  • Vocabulary in context
  • Precise language
  • Collaborative communication



Unit title: Telling Details

Featured text types: Short stories and visual texts

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Skills Focus

  • Critical reading of literary texts
  • Making meaning from visuals
  • Writing a literary analysis

Unit title: Pivotal Words and Phrases

Featured text types: Poetry and drama

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Skills Focus

  • Critical reading of poetry and drama
  • Purposeful revision
  • Oral delivery and dramatic presentations

Unit title: Compelling Evidence

Featured text types: Essays and arguments

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Skills Focus

  • Critical reading of essays and arguments
  • Synthesizing ideas across texts

Unit title: Powerful Openings

Featured text types: Openings from novels

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Skills Focus

  • Critical reading of literary texts
  • Writing a literary analysis

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across units:

  • Engaging with texts
  • Constructing texts
  • Focusing on language
  • Researching to learn
  • Entering the conversation

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 lessons that provide guidance and models for teaching the course.
  • Pre-AP resources that can be used alongside local school or district materials during the unit with continued infusion of the areas of focus and shared principles.

Assessments and Feedback

Each unit includes a variety of opportunities for meaningful feedback:

  • Curriculum-embedded assessments: learning checkpoints consisting of short writing tasks scored by teachers
  • 2 unit quizzes: short online assessments with automated scoring and reporting
  • 1 performance task: writing prompts that build readiness for the SAT Essay and AP English exam, with clear scoring guidelines for teachers