Reference Shelf

AP English Literature and Composition Resources

Poetry statue, Library of CongressHither, as to their fountain, other stars Repairing, in their golden urns draw light

... Milton, Paradise Lost, vii, 364



Twenty-One Poems for AP Literature and Composition

Fiction and Non-fiction for AP Literature and Composition

EDSITEment offers a site filled with valuable resources for AP English Literature and Composition teachers and students.

Scholar and Teacher-Reviewed Websites

Willa CatherEDSITEment is a portal to the finest open-source humanities websites. These sites have been reviewed by panels of scholars and master teachers and have been evaluated on the basis of their content: the quality and accuracy of the resources that are contained on the main site and the websites that can be reached easily from the entry site through direct links. The goal of this review is to assure teachers and students that the materials they are reading, evaluating, and analyzing are either reliable reproductions of primary sources or authoritative interpretations of a subject. These websites provide valuable resources for teachers and students to use in their own research; however, they also enrich the scope and content of EDSITEment lessons. Many of these sites are treasure troves of primary sources documents such as letters, diaries, audio clips, photographs and other images. Such resources greatly enhance the study of English literature and composition, providing invaluable historical context for the study of literary masterworks and their authors. They are instrumental for exploring the larger context of a masterwork by providing insight into the writer or poet’s life, along with information on the historical period of the masterwork and the effect its publication had on society.

Teacher-Tested Lesson Plans

Kate ChopinEDSITEment lesson plans are developed either by individual scholars and master teachers or by teams of teachers and scholars. Authors mine the EDSITEment websites for primary as well as secondary sources that are essential to an understanding of the subject. Each lesson begins with a brief introduction, one or two guiding questions, and a set of learning objectives that focus on both content and skills. The “Background for the Teacher” section provides information that a teacher needs in order to teach the lesson thoughtfully and effectively. Teachers new to the subject matter are strongly encouraged to read the background essay before teaching the lesson. "Preparation Instructions" follows with links to online resources that are chosen by the author(s) to broaden and deepen the teacher'sknowledge of the subject. These links often take the teacher to more detailed discussions of the literary/historic period, biographical materials, and explore the wider ramifications of the masterwork. Occasionally, these discussions introduce conflicting interpretations that can be used to enliven and/or deepen class conversations. The “Extending the Lesson” section provides additional research and project ideas for students to expand their understanding of the themes covered in the lesson.

The heart of the lessons are given set of activities meant to engage the student in close examination, evaluation, and analysis of the masterwork. These activities are designed to teach students—especially those preparing for the Multiple Choice and Free-Response Essay Questions in the AP Literature and Composition exam—how to engage in deep and wide reading, comparison and contrast with other authors/poets, critical analysis, and informed reflection from their study. These activities build a solid foundation of critical inquiry from which students may draw to compose the best response to questions posed on the AP exam. The lessons challenge students to sift through significant as well as controversial details and formulate original ideas to arrive at the larger meaning, purpose or overall effect of the text.

Mastery of Content

William FaulknerUsing a variety of resources, EDSITEment’s AP Literature and Composition features emphasize mastery of content. The resources presented have been chosen to provide students with insight into significant themes, literary devices and forms and plot and character development, as well as personal and societal concerns that occur within fictional/nonfictional narratives and poetry. As a result of their deliberative study and reflection on these resources, students will learn to draw connections and uncover patterns that enable them to experience the voice of the author and his/her vision as it emerges through the masterwork. They will learn to unlock the symbolic significance and place the masterwork in “the big picture." Students will craft careful observations and then form a series of inferences leading to an interpretive conclusion about the meaning and value of a piece of writing. They will experience, interpret, and evaluate in order to:

  • Explore the subjective dimension of a masterwork by composing personal reflections, including impressions and emotional responses.
  • Perform a thorough critical analysis to arrive at an understanding of multiple and nuanced meanings of the masterwork.
  • Complete an evaluation to assess the quality and artistic achievement of the masterwork along with a consideration of the social and cultural value it embodies or rails against.

Thoughtful Analysis

Recognizing that students need practice in thoughtful analysis, EDSITEment Resources for AP Literature and Composition will assist teachers as theyHarper Lee with actress who plays "Scout" encourage them to engage in close reading of the text and poetry. The authors and poets selected in this feature are drawn from the AP list provided by the College Board and/or its sample essay questions and represent the pinnacle of English literature. These narratives and poems are dense and multifaceted and require students to approach them mindfully in order to comprehend the many layers of the masterwork and penetrate to the core. Questions regarding readings on the AP exam often encompass works in several genres from the 16th to the 21st century and require students to speak to the historical/literary context as well as comprehend the essence of the masterworks. In navigating the resources featured here, students will gain practice in deliberate and thorough reading, taking time to understand a masterwork’s complexity and absorb its richness of meaning. They will observe how that meaning is embodied in the literary form. Careful attention to both the textual detail and historical context in these resources will supply students with a strong foundation from which to launch their own original interpretation and articulate their informed perspectives about literary masterworks such as those they will encounter on the AP exam.



Fiction: Chinua Achebe  |  Jane Austen  |  Charlotte Brontë  |  Willa Cather  |  Kate Chopin  |  Stephen Crane  |  William Faulkner  |  F. Scott Fitzgerald  |  Nathaniel Hawthorne  |  Ernest Hemingway  |  Zora Neale Hurston  |  Harper Lee  |  Jack London  |  Flannery O'Connor  |  George Orwell  |  Edgar Allan Poe  |  John Steinbeck  |  Mark Twain  |  Eudora Welty  |  Edith Wharton
Non-Fiction: Frederick Douglass  |  Malcolm X



Matthew Arnold: “Dover Beach”  |  Elizabeth Bishop: “In the Waiting Room”  |  Gwendolyn Brooks: “We Real Cool”  |  Robert Browning: “My Last Duchess”  |  Emily Dickinson: “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” (124)  |  John Donne: “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”  |  T.S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”  |  Carolyn Forché: “The Colonel”  |  Robert Frost: “Mending Wall”  |  Robert Hayden: “Those Winter Sundays”  |  Langston Hughes: “Let America Be America Again”  |  John Keats: “Ode on a Grecian Urn”  |  Andrew Marvell: “To His Coy Mistress”  |  Wilfred Owen: “Dulce et Decorum Est”  |  John Crowe Ransom: “Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”  |  William Shakespeare: Sonnets  |  Percy Bysshe Shelley: “Ozymandias”  |  Wallace Stevens: “Sunday Morning”  |  Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night”  |  William Carlos Williams: “Danse Russe”  |  William Butler Yeats: “The Second Coming”

Citation Resources

The following web sites provide helpful guidelines on citing electronic resources.


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