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Important Updates

2019-20 AP Course Audit: What You'll Need to Do

To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports launching in August, you won’t be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re teaching AP English Language and Composition in 2019-20, you’ll need to: 

  • Submit an AP Course Audit Form
  • Download the AP English Language and Composition unit guide

These steps will ensure that your course appears on the AP Course Ledger and that you have access to online score reports in July 2020.

AP Course Audit

All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization through the AP Course Audit.

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Designing Your AP English Language and Composition Course


The AP English Language and Composition course should be designed by your school to be equivalent to the introductory year of college composition coursework. Your course should help students become skilled readers of prose written in a variety of disciplines and rhetorical contexts, and become skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes, aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects. An integral part of your course should be the development of research skills that enable students to evaluate, use, and cite source material.

Students enrolling in AP English Language and Composition are expected to have had training in reading and writing Standard English.

Getting to Know the Course and Exam

The key document for each AP course is the course and exam description. Start by reviewing it to understand the objectives and expectations of the AP course and exam.

AP English Language and Composition Course and Exam Description

This is the core document for this course and is new for the 2019-20 school year. New unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED also more clearly outlines how material will be assessed on the exam, provides instructional strategies, and gives information on the AP Program in general.

Creating Your Syllabus

Use these resources to design your AP English Language and Composition syllabus.


AP English Language and Composition curricular requirements:

  • The course is structured by unit, theme, genre, or other organizational approach that provides opportunities to engage with the big ideas throughout the course: Rhetorical Situation, Claims and Evidence, Reasoning and Organization, and Style.
  • The course requires readings with an emphasis on nonfiction readings (e.g., essays, journalism, political writing, science writing, nature writing, autobiographies/biographies, diaries, history, criticism) that are selected to give students opportunities to identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in following skill categories:
    • Skill Category 1—Rhetorical Situation (Reading): Explain how writers’ choices reflect the components of the rhetorical situation
    • Skill Category 2—Rhetorical Situation (Writing): Make strategic choices in a text to address a rhetorical situation
    • Skill Category 3—Claims and Evidence (Reading): Identify and describe the claims and evidence of an argument
    • Skill Category 4—Claims and Evidence (Writing): Analyze evidence in order to develop and refine claims
    • Skill Category 5—Reasoning and Organization (Reading): Describe the reasoning, organization, and development of an argument
    • Skill Category 6—Reasoning and Organization (Writing): Use organization and commentary to illuminate the line of reasoning in an argument
    • Skill Category 7—Style (Reading): Explain how writers’ stylistic choices contribute to the purpose of an argument
    • Skill Category 8—Style (Writing): Select words and use elements of composition to advance an argument
  • The course provides opportunities for students to write argumentative essays synthesizing material from a variety of sources.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to write essays analyzing authors’ rhetorical choices.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to write essays that proceed through multiple stages or drafts, including opportunities for conferring and collaborating with the teacher and/or peers.

AP English Language and Composition resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a copy of all required readings for individual use inside and outside the classroom.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP English Language and Composition. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by the College Board. Not using a book from this list does not mean that a course will not receive authorization. Syllabi submitted as part of the AP Course Audit process will be evaluated holistically, with textbooks considered along with supplementary, supporting resources to confirm that the course as a whole provides students with the content delineated in the curricular requirements of the AP Course Audit.

Editions of the following textbooks after the year 2007 are appropriate for use in AP English Language and Composition. Earlier editions of these texts or other textbooks not listed here may meet the AP Course Audit curricular requirements if supplemented with appropriate college-level instructional resources. The readers, handbooks, style guides, and grammar texts listed are not required for the course and may include texts published before the year above. A textbook may serve the purposes of these additional texts. Because college and university composition courses often use such texts and many AP English Language and Composition teachers rely on them, they are included and reviewed for your convenience. For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP English Language and Composition classroom, please consult the Resource section of the AP English Teacher Community.


  • Atwan, Robert. Convergences: Themes, Texts, and Images for Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Aufses, Robin Dissin, Renee Shea, and Lawrence Scanlon. Conversations in American Literature: Language, Rhetoric, Culture. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Bedau. Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Burke, Jim. Uncharted Territory: A High School Reader. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. New York, NY: Longman.
  • Faigley, Lester, Jack Selzer. A Little Argument. New York: Longman.
  • Faigley, Lester, and Jack Selzer. Good Reasons with Contemporary Arguments. New York: Longman.
  • Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. They Say/I Say: the Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
  • Heinrichs, Jay. Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • Jolliffe, David, and Hephzibah Roskelly. Writing America: Language and Composition in Context, AP Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. Practical Argument. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Latterell, Catherine G. ReMix: Reading + Composing Culture. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument: with Readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.
  • Lunsford, Andrea, et al. Everyone’s an Author. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Muller, Gilbert H. and Melissa E. Whiting. Language and Composition: The Art of Voice, AP Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Roskelly, Hephzibah, and David Jolliffe. Everyday Use: Rhetoric at Work in Reading and Writing. New York: Longman.
  • Shea, Renée, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses. The Language of Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Smith, Michael W., Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, and James E. Fredricksen. Oh, Yeah! Putting Argument to Work Both in School and Out. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • White, Fred and Simone Billings. The Well Crafted Argument. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.


  • Austin, Michael. Reading the World: Ideas that Matter. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Bartholomae, Davi, and Anthony Petrosky. Ways of Reading. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Bloom, Lynn Z. The Essay Connection. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  • Cohen, Samuel. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Connelly, Mark. The Sundance Reader. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Connelly, Mark. The Sundance Writer: A Rhetoric, Reader, Research Guide, and Handbook. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Conrad, Ronald. The Act of Writing: Canadian Essays for Composition. Toronto, McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
  • Cooley, Thomas. Back to the Lake. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Cooley, Thomas, ed. The Norton Sampler: Short Essays for Composition. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Crider, Scott. The Office of Assertion: An Art of Rhetoric for Academic Essay. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
  • Dillard, Annie and Cort Conley. Modern American Memoirs. New York: Harper Perennials.
  • DiYanni, Robert, and Pat C. Hoy II. Frames of Mind: A Rhetorical Reader with Occasions for Writing. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  • DiYanni, Robert, ed. One Hundred Great Essays. New York: Longman.
  • Eschholz, Paul, and Alfred Rosa, eds. Models for Writers: Short Essays for Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Eschholz, Paul, and Alfred Rosa, eds. Subjects/Strategies: A Writer’s Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Flachman, Kim, and Michael Flachman. The Prose Reader. New York: Longman.
  • Gilyard, Keith, Deborah H. Holdstein, and Charles I. Schuster. Rhetorical Choices: A Reader for Writers. New York: Longman.
  • Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. They Say/I Say: the Moves that Matter in Academic Writing with Readings. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
  • Gross, John, ed. The Oxford Book of Essays. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Kennedy, X.J., Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Jane E. Aaron. The Bedford Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. The Blair Reader: Exploring Contemporary Issues. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell, eds. Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Kitchen, Judith. Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • LaGuardia, Dolores, and Hans Guth. American Voices: Culture and Community. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • McCuen, Jo Ray, and Anthony C. Winkler, eds. Readings for Writers. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • McQuade, Donald, and Robert Atwan. The Writer’s Presence: A Pool of Readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Miller, George, ed. The Prentice Hall Reader. New York: Longman.
  • Mims, Joan, and Elizabeth Nollen. Mirror on America: Essays and Images from Popular Culture. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Muller, Gilbert H. The McGraw-Hill Reader: Issues Across the Disciplines. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Nadell, Judith A., John Langan, and Eliza A. Comodromos. The Longman Reader. 10th edition. New York: Longman, 2011.
  • Peterson, Linda H., et al., eds. The Norton Reader. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings. New York: Longman.
  • Root, Robert L., Jr., and Michael Steinberg. The Fourth Genre. New York: Longman.
  • Stubbs, Marcia, and Sylvan Barnet. The Little, Brown Reader. New York: Longman.
  • Trimmer, Joseph, and Maxine Hairston, eds. The Riverside Reader. Boston: Wadsworth.
  • Zinsser, William, ed. Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir. New York: Mariner Books.

Handbooks, Style Guides, and Grammar Texts

  • Axelrod, Rise B., and Charles R. Cooper. The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Blakesley, David and Jeffrey Hoogeveen. Writing: a Manual for the Digital Age. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Bullock, Richard, Michal Brody, and Francine Weinberg. The Little Seagull Handbook. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Ede, Lisa. Work in Progress: A Guide to Academic Writing and Revising. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Faigley, Lester. Penguin Handbook. New York: Longman.
  • Fowler, H. Ramsey, and Jane E. Aaron. The Little, Brown Handbook. New York: Longman.
  • Glenn, Cheryl and Loretta Gray. The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook. 5th edition, 2013.
  • Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. The Bedford Handbook. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How to Do Things with Text. Logan, UT: Utah University Press.
  • Hall, Donald, and Sven Birkerts. Writing Well. New York: Longman.
  • Killgallon, Don. Sentence Composing for College. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.
  • Kolln, Martha, and Loretta Gray. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. New York: Longman.
  • Lanham, Richard A. Revising Prose. New York: Longman.
  • Lunsford, Andrea A. St. Martin’s Handbook. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Miles, Robert, Marc Bertonasco, and William Karns. Prose Style. New York: Longman.
  • Murray, Donald. The Craft of Revision. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  • Muth, Marcia F. Researching and Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. Elements of Style. New York: Longman.
  • Troyka, Lynn Q., and Douglas Hesse. Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers. New York: Longman.
  • Tufte, Virginia. Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.
  • Williams, Joseph M., and Joseph Bizup. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. New York: Longman.
  • Zinsser, William K. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. New York: Harper Perennial.