English Literature and Composition
AP Annual Conference Submission
There is a notable discrepancy in how writing is taught in AP Language and AP Literature. The former relies on the study of mentor texts that provide students with models of composition, while the latter, as Peter Elbow has noted, believes that “‘holding a discussion’ [is] the most noble and useful way to deal with” a text. The best case scenario is that AP Literature teachers write with their students or use sample essays from the College Board, both of which are useful but limited. Instead, we should teach the discipline-specific writing of literary studies by using discipline-based mentor texts (literary criticism) to model how to write and think about literary works. This session will demonstrate the need for such a redesign by reviewing the research on mentor texts and discipline-based literacy practices, and it will demonstrate how to organize a literature class around mentor texts by providing participants with sample syllabi, sample mentor texts, and sample student work.