As a college-level course, Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Following the College Board curriculum, the course includes nine units: three on poetry, three on short fiction, and three on longer works of fiction or drama. In these nine units, students explore what College Board describes as the literary “big ideas” of characters, setting, structure, and narration. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone. Reading in an AP course is both wide and deep. This reading necessarily builds upon and complements the reading done in previous English courses so that by the time students complete their AP course, they will have read works from several genres and periods — from the 16th to the 21st century. In the course, they read deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand a work’s complexity, to absorb its richness of meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form. In addition to considering a work’s literary artistry, students reflect on the social and historical values it reflects and embodies. Careful attention to both textual detail and historical context provides a foundation for interpretation, whatever critical perspectives are brought to bear on the literary works studied. Writing is an integral part of the AP English Literature and Composition exam. Therefore, students engage in weekly practice in prewriting, planning, and writing AP-style essays. Longer writing assignments focus on the critical analysis of literature and include expository, analytical and argumentative essays. Although critical analysis makes up the bulk of student writing for the course, well-constructed creative writing assignments help students see from the inside how literature is written.