Department ofEducation

AP* English Literature

We are pleased to welcome Skip Nicholson to the 2014 AP* Summer Institute!

Registration is Now Open - Register before June 1 to get Early Bird Price!

Instructor Bio

Skip Nicholson has taught English for over 40 years, the last 20 at South Pasadena High School in California, where he was Head of English. He is now an instructor in education and English at the University of California, Riverside, Extension. He taught freshman composition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he was chosen to serve as a Visiting Associate in Rhetoric. He holds a BA from UCLA and a Certificate from the University of Bordeaux and completed the work for an MA in Comparative Literature at Cal State, Fullerton. He taught AP* English Literature and Composition for some 20 years, as well as three other AP* courses.

A reader for the AP* English Literature exam, most recently for the Alternate Exam, he has led AP* institutes and workshops at sites across the U.S. and in Canada. He was named a Senior Reviewer for the College Board AP* Course Audit. Skip serves as a member of WASC accreditation teams and chairs WASC visiting committees.

He was elected to head the Secondary Section of the National Council of Teachers of English for five years and sat on the NCTE Executive Committee for three. He was a master teacher in Folger Shakespeare Library/NEH summer institutes in Washington, D.C. and Honolulu, and for conferences of the Shakespeare Globe Center and the English Speaking Union at Shakespeare at the Huntington. He is the consulting editor for the five plays in National Textbook Company’s Shakespeare series: Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is the co-author of Fast Track to a Five [2009], the AP test preparation companion to Wadsworth’s Perrine’s Literature and of the 2011 Teacher’s Manual for Bedford’s Literature & Composition. He represented the United States as a keynote speaker at the 1988 conference of the Centrale de l’Enseignement du Québec in Quebec City.

Course Description


The workshop will offer time-tested ideas as we explore four essential aspects of the AP* English Literature & Comp course.
  • Creating or revising a literature course with emphasis on the changing student population in AP English, including fast and efficient techniques for satisfying the AP* Audit
  • Preparing students for the AP exam with strategies for improving their performance on both the multiple-choice section and the essays, including scoring of a past AP* English Literature exam.
  • Teaching literature, with emphasis on five areas: (1) using a short story boot camp to teach the elements of fiction; (2) teaching students to understand and to discuss and write knowledgeably about tone; (3) selecting, planning, and pacing the teaching of novels; (4) structuring for students a profitable and enjoyable personal study of poetry; and (5) turning Shakespeare into the object of excitement and long-lasting enjoyment.
  •  Teaching writing, with a focus on coaching the skills for producing timed writing on demand as required for exams throughout college and on strategies for revision of longer works.

What to Bring

  • One “surefire” lesson for AP or any other English class
  • If you use a literature anthology, you might want to bring a copy to use for course planning or revision

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