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English 2 builds on the foundation of English 1, with an emphasis on the recursive moves that matter in preparing students for the challenges of college-level reading, writing, and discussion. While English 1 introduces the fundamental routines of close observation, critical analysis, and appreciation of author’s craft, English 2 requires students to apply those same practices to a new host of nonfiction and literary texts. As readers, students develop a vigilant awareness of how the poet, playwright, novelist, and writer of nonfiction alike can masterfully manipulate language to serve their unique purposes. As writers, students compose more nuanced analytical essays without losing sight of the importance of well-crafted sentences and a sense of cohesion.

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.

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across all units:

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

Course at a Glance

The tables below show the four main units in Pre-AP English 2, the recommended length for each unit, and the key topics in each.


Genre Focus: Argument

Timeframe: ~5 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of print and nonprint arguments
  • Analyzing rhetorical features and moves
  • Writing analytical sentences and a rhetorical analysis essay

Performance task: Analyzing an Argument

Genre Focus: Fiction and drama

Timeframe: ~4 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of short fiction and drama
  • Analyzing rhetorical moves of characters and authors
  • Writing analytical sentences and a literary analysis essay

Performance task: Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

Genre Focus: Nonfiction

Timeframe: ~5 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of a collection of print and nonprint texts
  • Evaluating texts with different perspectives on the same topic
  • Writing analytical paragraphs and a synthesis argument

Performance task: Writing a Synthesis Argument

Genre Focus: Poetry and prose

Timeframe: ~4 weeks

Focus Skills

  • Critical reading of a collection of poetry and prose
  • Analyzing works that praise, mourn, or mock
  • Analyzing works that praise, mourn, or mock

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 2 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 partnered to provide students with meaningful practice of their sentence-level writing skills. Pre-AP English 2 teachers have access to the Writing Skills Surveys and to Quill Connect. Our recommendation is to assign the Writing Skills Surveys first, to identify students’ skills that need more support. We encourage teachers to deliver these surveys, then leverage the tools available in Quill Connect and through to provide differentiated student practice. 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.

    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.