Registration for next year has begun at my school. Students have so many options in today’s education system. Dual enrollment, virtual school, and non-AP English classes are all options offering different benefits. There is no one right answer for all students; instead, students need to figure out which class is best for their strengths and curriculum path. This post is not to take away from any of the other options students have but to promote why I (along with some support from former students) think AP Lit is beneficial. Forgive the question/answer slides, but I’m obsessed with JEOPARDY! and this week’s college tournament. JEOPARDY! is the perfect mentor text.
AP Lit offers daily writing practice. I have students for 180 days, and we write the far majority of those days. Even without feedback (which I do give), student writing will improve simply from daily practice. Writing practice involves not only writing timed essays to prepare for the AP exam but also gives students the opportunity to write narratives, research-based pieces, poetry, literary analysis, and creative works. Students also spend time studying the craft of writing experimenting with syntax, punctuation, and voice; these components of writing can only be developed through consistent practice.
Students will be exposed to a variety of genres, authors, and themes forcing students to read and think with purpose. Students will also learn reading strategies which will transfer across disciplines. As an added bonus, many AP Lit books are high interest and/or modern and hardly feel like “work” to the students because they are enjoying the books so much while reading skills are being built.
The community in an AP class is like no other type of classroom. High school classes contain some students who are not as serious in their academic pursuits as AP students while college classes don’t meet on a daily basis thus giving the students time to get to know each other: AP provides the perfect environment for intellectual pursuits and building skill with a hodgepodge of students who will become like family.
AP classes are filled with lessons and activities that are creative, engaging, and thought-provoking. I’m amazed and inspired to hear what is happening in other classes in our school and AP classes across the country.
Enough from me though; what do students think of AP classes? I put out a message on GroupMe (an app I use to back channel conversation from class), and former students were quick to tell me their thoughts on AP classes. (Interestingly, my classes from former years have kept their class intact on GroupMe even though they have graduated and still communicate with each other).
“Honestly all the AP classes I took taught me more than any of the dual enrollment classes. I know others who would likewise say that AP classes are harder than dual enrollment classes. AP Lit also is great because you are in the same class with the same people most of the year. This allows students to become comfortable with each other which in turn lead to great discussions. One learns in these discussions how to communicate to and with people of differing views. It teaches how to listen to others, and we all know there is a lot to be gained from that.
The AP test also is unknown to the teacher and the students which means that no one really has the upper hand. You just have to be prepared. In college classes, one can usually find out what to study or practice and what to not, which means that the student may not actually learn some material.
AP Lit’s biggest distinction is that it keeps the student in the physical school. When you think about this, it makes you realize that if you take the AP students away, you completely change the atmosphere of the school. I know as a freshman I looked up to those in AP classes. I heard their conversations about the great books they read and the way certain books made them think. This encouraged me to want to take AP classes and to make the most out of the classes I was already in. Having them around gave me someone to look up to.
AP classes are more beneficial. They not only add to the person but also to the school community.” – Anna, University of Georgia
“AP lit has definitely prepared me for writing essays! I just got back my first English 1102 paper, and I got a 95! Dual enrollment may be “easier” for some people, but I’m glad I stuck with AP Lit because I got the criticism and material I needed to thrive.” – Kristen, Georgia State University
“AP gets you into the mindset of a college course without the harsh consequences of college courses since most AP classes have more than 3 or 4 graded assignments.” Andrew – Georgia Tech University
“What I gained is getting to have an actual relationship with the teacher and getting to read so many different novels which are still affecting me now! I’m taking intro to lit as a junior in college, and I’m really the only person in class who knows what books she’s talking about half the time!” – Haley, Mississippi State University
“No college English classes!” – Ethan, Georgia Tech University
“For me, what I gained from AP was a taste of the level of difficulty that we will face in college. The multiple papers, tests, and projects were very helpful. My English 1101 class was easier than your class. It also helped me learn how to improve my writing skills. AP would be great for someone who isn’t quite ready to be in the college mix with harder teachers and a different environment but who still wants to have an advanced level of difficulty.” – Amber, University of West Georgia
“Beyond being cost effective, AP prepared me well for the course load to be expected in college.” – Jessica, Georgia Tech University
“I appreciated the rigor and knowing that his AP peers would serve to challenge him, which they and his teachers did. The opportunity to engage with his AP teachers on a level he had not experienced in most non-AP classes helped him mature and gain confidence.” – Traci, mother of a University of Georgia student
“AP Lit helped my son rediscover his love for reading.” – Ashley, son of a Georgia Tech University student