What should I teach for AP?Hello, fellow educators. I'll be teaching my first AP Literature and Composition class this year. I have a huge range of texts to choose from, but there's no way I can...

What should I teach for AP?

Hello, fellow educators. I'll be teaching my first AP Literature and Composition class this year. I have a huge range of texts to choose from, but there's no way I can teach them all. Of these titles, which would you recommend? I'm looking to whittle this list down to about 14 titles for the year.

The Awakening, [Nearly all of Shakespeare's plays], Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, Beowulf, Oedipus Rex, The Inferno, 1984, Dubliners, Metamorphosis, 100 Years of Solitude, Native Son, Brave New World, The Things They Carried, Lord of the Flies, Things Fall Apart, As I Lay Dying, Grapes of Wrath, Great Expectations, Medea, The Old Man and the Sea, Invisible Man, and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Expert Answers
missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would recommend making your decisions based on several factors. First, consider the texts you actually have in your book storage at school. Some of these will be old and falling apart. Others, you may not even have a class set. The Crucible is in most 11th grade texts, so I would eliminate that. I would teach either 1984 or Brave New World because they are similar concepts... you could even consider adding Lord of the Flies to that dystopia mix and only teach one of them. Another worthy consideration is to look at the list of frequently cited texts for the AP Lit exam: http://homepage.mac.com/mseffie/AP/APtitles.html. Scroll to the bottom of this page and you will see that Invisible Man and Great Expectations are both regularly cited with 24 and 16 respective appearances on the exam.

In my opinion, every senior should read Hamlet. Othello is a really fun Shakespeare play too.


literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I teach Eng. IV and Comp 101 (dual-cred). Last year I focused upon Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. My seniors loved both. I taught The Crucible to my Juniors (like the other poster stated- typically taught Junior year).  I remember reading Dubliners and The Awakening in college. I love Chopin, and teach a few of her stories to my Juniors and Seniors, but I remember hating Dubliners. I adore Shakespeare- the comedies over the histories and tragedies. Students struggle, but pairing with the movie helps a lot (BBC produces some dry, but great and followable productions).

Regardless of what you choose, good luck!!! You have a very great selection of novels and stories- reading list shows the class will definately be AP.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You do have some excellent choices. Shakespeare is a must: I would recommend The Tempest or possibly Othello (assuming A Midsummer Night's Dream has already been taught in previous grades). I love Great Expectations, The Old Man and the Sea and The Grapes of Wrath. I also think A Thousand Splendid Suns is a great choice, especially if your students have previously read The Kite Runner. I think The Crucible still has great relevance and is a good dramatic pick. 

Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wow, there are a lot of choices here but I'll pick out a few of my favorites and least favorites. In High School I really enjoyed The Metamorphosis, probably one of my favorite books ever. I had to read The Awakening and hated it. I really enjoyed reading plays, although I think they can be difficult for some people. Shakespeare is always great, but the opportunity to read ancient Greek theater in High School is pretty special.


bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I teach Senior English (which targets the lower reading levels in the 12th grade). My reading list for the year includes: Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, MidSummer Night's Dream, Medea, The Odyssey, Brave New World.

My friend handles AP in the same school. Some of her list includes: A Separate Peace, The Things they Carried, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Pride and Predjudice, Grapes of Wrath, and Lit Circles.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

creativethinking eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thanks so much to everyone--my list is already gaining a lot of clarity. I will definitely consider themes, length, and difficulty to try to achieve a diverse, achievable list. And, like all things in teaching, the beauty of it is that it doesn't have to be a "forever" decision... Next year, I'll get the opportunity to revisit and revise my syllabus with an additional two semesters of wisdom under my belt. Thank you again!


accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Apparently, three of the texts that crop up most on the list of texts that are suggested for you to respond to the third open essay section about are The Awakening, The Glass Menagerie and Wuthering Heights. I have always tried to use such texts in my teaching of AP English just to give my students an excellent basis of three core texts that could be used to answer pretty much any question.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I have never had AP Literature-specific training, but I have had the vertical teaming training and teach advanced Pre-AP classes. One recommendation I can make is to choose books that you already know well for your first year. You will feel much more confident. You want to teach what you know, and what you like. Don't try to teach a book you hate.
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One thing that was taught in my daughter's AP class was Crime and Punishment. The students thought this was ill-advised because it depressed them all and very many of the students refused to finish reading the book. Based on this anecdotal evidence, perhaps this is a book that would not do well.

smartipi | Student

A thousand Splendid Suns. It was one of the best books I have ever read and I am sure your students will love it!

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