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Style Analysis for Pre-AP® and Advanced Placement® English Students

This English language arts and reading curriculum unit offers tested and proven materials for teaching style analysis to College-bound students, including those in On Level, AVID, GT, Honors, Pre-AP®, and Advanced Placement® classes. Excellent for grades 7-12 vertical alignment, the instructions and passages in this self-paced guide provide teachers and students with close reading and academic writing instruction.

For our purposes, this packet breaks the elements of style into six units of study:(1) tone and attitude;(2) diction;(3) detail;(4) point of view;(5) organization; and(6) syntax. When our students finish the guide, they have the skills to closely read and comprehend difficult passages as well as the ability to analyze the kinds of prose and poetry passages that appear on the AP® English Literature and Composition exam. For the rhetorical analysis passage on the AP English Language and Composition exam, students gain an understanding of devices, such as diction, detail, point of view, and syntax that influence a writer’s tone and rhetorical stance. We believe that, by teaching these six areas, we can demystify the process of literary and rhetorical analysis for our students.

You will notice that the sample time line suggests a six-week unit. This is the format we have used most often, but we have done it in a variety of other sequences. We have taught the entire unit to 11th and 12th graders. We have introduced the diction and detail sections at seventh thru ninth grade, the point of view at tenth grade, organization at eleventh grade, and syntax at twelfth grade. All these variations have worked.

This unit borrows heavily from the training described in our Teaching Analytical Response to Literature, 4th edition publication. Teachers have asked us if we duplicate the entire unit for our students. We make copies of various student handout pages as appropriate. Students need to mark passages, practice different techniques, and highlight various sections, and having their own copies to do this is essential. Teachers have also told us that these same approaches help students analyze poetry. We supplement our poetry instruction with analysis of techniques such as punctuation, visual layout on the page, omission of detail, rhyme scheme, and so on.

This brings us to one final comment: this unit is very flexible. We offer approaches based on firsthand experience, but we know that there are many other combinations that will work as well. We believe that all teachers adapt ideas to fit their own teaching styles, and this format, like those in all of our curriculum packets, is easily and successfully modified.

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