Students are exposed to a variety of genres and voices in American literature from the colonial to contemporary eras by reading titles such as My Ántonia, Death of a Salesman, and The Way to Rainy Mountain. With increasing sophistication, students examine how the historical context of literary works is reflected in thematic and stylistic textual elements.
Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on helping students develop and refine their critical reading and writing skills. Students write expository, research, and creative compositions while honing critical and analytic skills through close readings of literary, historical, expository, and functional documents. Alongside their investigations of connections between historical context and literary works, students participate in a variety of activities designed to build practical skills, including studies of functional documents and workplace communication.
Both semesters of the course culminate in an extensive unit focused on building writing skills. In semester one, students practice synthesizing key concepts from source texts and write a thesis-driven response to their synthesis. In semester two, students practice gathering, evaluating, synthesizing, presenting, and documenting information in a unit dedicated to writing research reports.
The content is based on the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards and is aligned with state standards.