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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 that launched in August, you will not be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re teaching a new AP English Literature and Composition course in 2019-20, you’ll need to:

  • Submit a subject-specific AP Course Audit Form
  • Download the AP English Literature and Composition unit guide

If you’re teaching a previously authorized AP English Literature and Composition course, make sure your school administrator renews your course in 2019-20.

These steps will ensure that your course appears on the AP Course Ledger and 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 Literature and Composition Course


The AP English Literature and Composition course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to the introductory year of college literature coursework. Your course should engage students in the careful reading and critical analysis of literature. Through the close reading of literary texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers.

Students enrolling in AP English Literature 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 Literature 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.

Course Requirements


Your course must fulfill these requirements.

AP English Literature 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: Character, Setting, Structure, Narration, Figurative Language, Literary Analysis.
  • The course includes works of short fiction, poetry, novels, and drama.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in the following skill categories:
    • Skill Category 1: Explain the function of character
    • Skill Category 2: Explain the function of setting
    • Skill Category 3: Explain the function of plot and structure
    • Skill Category 4: Explain the function of the narrator or speaker
    • Skill Category 5: Explain the function of word choice, imagery, and symbols
    • Skill Category 6: Explain the function of comparison
    • Skill Category 7: Develop textually substantiated arguments about interpretations of a portion or whole text
  • 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 Literature 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 Literature 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.

The current editions of the following textbooks meet the Course Audit curricular requirements. 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. For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP English Literature and Composition classroom, please consult the Teachers’ Resources section of AP Central.


  • Abcarian, R., M. Klotz, and S. Cohen, eds. Literature: The Human Experience. 11th. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Arp, Thomas, and Greg Johnson, eds. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound & Sense. 11th. Cengage Learning.
  • Baym, Nina, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th. W. W. Norton.
  • Charters, Ann, and Samuel Charters, eds. Literature and Its Writers. 6th. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Damrosch, David, et al., eds. The Longman Anthology of British Literature. 4th. Longman.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors. W. W. Norton.
  • Hunt, Douglas, ed. The Riverside Anthology of Literature. 3rd. Cengage Learning.
  • Jago, Carol, Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses. Literature & Composition: Reading, Writing, Thinking. 1st. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Goia, eds. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing. 12th. Longman.
  • Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell, eds. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 8th. Cengage Learning.
  • Landy, Alice, and William R. Allen, eds. The Heath Introduction to Literature. 6th. Cengage Learning.
  • Lawall, Sarah N., et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd. W. W. Norton.
  • Mays, Kelly J., ed. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th. W. W. Norton.
  • McMichael, George, et al., eds. The Anthology of American Literature. 10th. Longman.
  • McQuade, Donald, et al., eds. The Harper American Literature. 3rd. Longman.
  • Meyer, Michael, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 10th. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Meyer, Michael, ed. Literature to Go. 2nd. Bedford/St. Martin’s
  • Roberts, Edgar V., and Robert Zweig, eds. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 10th. Longman.
  • Schwiebert, John E, ed. Reading and Writing from Literature. 3rd. Cengage Learning.


  • Arp, Thomas, and Greg Johnson, eds. Perrine’s Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. 14th. Cengage Learning.
  • DiYanni, Robert, and Kraft Rompf, eds. The McGraw-Hill Book of Poetry. 1st. McGraw-Hill.
  • Ferguson, Margaret, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 5th. W. W. Norton.
  • Hunter, J. Paul, et al., eds. The Norton Introduction to Poetry. 9th. W. W. Norton.
  • Author Unknown. Macmillan Literature Heritage — The English Tradition: Poetry . McGraw-Hill
  • Meyer, Michael, ed. Poetry: An Introduction. 7th . Bedford/St. Martin’s
  • Pinsky, Robert, and Maggie Dietz, eds. An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology. W. Norton
  • Ramazani, Jahan, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. 3rd. W. W. Norton
  • Strand, Mark, and Eavan Boland . The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. W. Norton.
  • Vendler, Helen, ed. Poems, Poets, and Poetry. 3rd. Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Handbooks, Style Guides, and Grammar Texts

  • Arp, Thomas, and Greg Johnson, eds. Perrine’s Story & Structure. 14th. Cengage Learning
  • Beaty, Jerome, ed. The Norton Introduction to the Short Novel. 3rd. W. W. Norton.
  • Bohner, Charles H., and Lyman Grant, eds. Short Fiction: Classic and Contemporary. 6th. Longman.
  • Cassill, R. V., and Richard Bausch, eds. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. 7th. W. W. Norton
  • Cassill, R. V., and Joyce Carol Oates, eds. The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. 2nd. W. W. Norton.
  • Charters, Ann, ed. The Story and Its Writer. 8th. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • DiYanni, Robert, ed. Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd. McGraw-Hill.
  • Axelrod, Rise B., and Charles R. Cooper. St. Martin’s Guide to Writing. 10th. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Barnet, Sylvan, William E. Cain, and William Burto . Literature for Composition. 10th. Pearson/Longman.
  • Barnet, Sylvan, and William E. Cain. A Short Guide to Writing about Literature. 12th. Pearson/Longman.
  • McMahan, Elizabeth, et al. Literature and the Writing Process. 10th. Longman.
  • Ramage, Joseph, et al. Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. 6th. Longman.
  • Roberts, Edgar V. Writing about Literature. 13th. Longman.
  • Schwiebert, John E., ed. Reading and Writing from Literature. 3rd. Cengage Learning.
  • Trimmer, Joseph F. The New Writing with a Purpose. 14th. Cengage Learning.