High School American Literature Courses

The following is a listing of resources for teaching American Literature at the high school level. It includes complete curriculum, online high school American Literature courses, and miscellaneous resources. Please email me with any suggestions.

Course Curriculum

A Beka American Literature - $25.50 (Teacher Guide not included)

The highlights of American literature that have thrilled readers through the years are included in this enjoyable text for eleventh grade. The broad study of various types of literature helps students to love and appreciate the literature of our country. Authors include Irving, Cooper, Whittier, Clemens, Frost, Thurber, and many others. Transcendentalism and the literary trends of the twentieth century are not simply accepted as “art” but are evaluated in light of the Scriptures for the students’ edification. America’s great preachers, hymn writers, statesmen, and Bible scholars are given their rightful place in American literature.

American Literature Since 1865 - Free

Online syllabus by University of Virginia professor Stephen Railton. Includes a listing of text, weekly assignments, and online references.

American Passages: A Literary SurveyFree

A 16-part American literature course. The video programs, print guides, and Web site place literary movements and authors within the context of history and culture. The course takes an expanded view of American literary movements, bringing in a diversity of voices and tracing the continuity among them. The materials, which are coordinated with the Norton Anthology of American Literature, can be used as the basis of a one or two-semester college-level course or for teacher professional development.

Core Knowledge American Literature College Course OutlineFree

This course will survey American literature from the mid-Eighteenth Century to the post-World War II period. It is designed to prepare aspiring teachers to teach American literature in elementary and middle schools, and conceived with particular reference to the Core Knowledge curriculum for grades K-8. Readings will include poems, novels, essays, autobiographies, short stories, social commentaries, political tracts, and philosophy, originating in different regions and social settings across the country. Some works are chosen from their historical importance, others for their thematic insight, others for their aesthetic virtues. Taken together, they form a rich collection of imaginative and critical writing, composed by former slaves and United States Presidents, by immigrants and expatriates, by Harvard professors and unknown spinsters.

Everyday Education: Excellence in Literature – $29.00

American Literature is a college-preparatory literature survey course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, and for their place in the historical development of literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work. Students will gain an understanding of the development of American literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing.

The Gold Book: American Literature (High School) – varies

The Gold Book – American Literature includes 36 weekly lessons similar in format to the other editions of the Learning Language Arts Through Literature series. Written in conversational form, with story summaries and complete answers provided for the discussion questions, this book is easy for any teacher to use. Information has been interwoven into the lessons so that the student becomes familiar with famous American authors. Most lessons include vocabulary-expanding applications. The book is designed for Teacher directed use, or the Student can use it on his own. Answers are found at the end of each lesson. The Student is expected to keep a four-section notebook for assigned writings.

Hewitt American Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century – $29.95

Students read Benjamin Franklin, Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Lessons include persuasive writing, tone, conflict, character, and rhyme and meter in poetry. Includes author information, comprehension questions, writing exercises, additional projects ideas, and reading lists.

Hewitt American Literature: Mid-Late 19th Century - $24.95

Students read Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Stephen Crane, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Emily Dickinson, and Jack London. Covers theme, humor, description, point of view, figurative language, register, and sound in poetry. Information about the authors, comprehension questions, writing exercises, additional projects ideas, and reading lists.

MIT Open Courseware: American LiteratureFree

Studies the national literature of the United States since the early nineteenth century. Considers novels, essays, and poems, focusing on efforts to define and reform a sense of American identity amidst increasing awareness of cultural diversity. Readings usually include works by Hawthorne, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Dickinson, Frost, Faulkner, Maxine Kingston, and Amy Tan. Includes syllabus, calendar, assignments, and related resources.

Oak Meadow American Literature – $60.00

Students read the thoughts and feelings of American men and women who have helped create and articulate the unique heritage of the American people and the rich fabric of their culture. Active reading and critical evaluation is emphasized. Students refine composition and presentation skills by writing essays (expository, interpretive, contrast/compare), magazine columns, travel guides, interviews, editorials, and speeches. In addition, students explore the works of modern American poets and write a literary research paper.

Online Classes

Florida Virtual School: $375 per semester; asynchronous learning.

Keystone High School: $289 per semester; asynchronous learning; one year to complete a full credit course.

Indiana University High School: ~$241 per semester; asynchronous learning; one year to complete a course.

Potter’s School: $478 academic year; synchronous learning (set meeting time); Christian world view.

Scholars Online: $400 academic year; synchronous learning (set meeting time); Christian world view.

Texas Tech High School: $175 per semester course, asynchronous learning, six months to complete a course.

Universal Class American Literature Review: $35 for six month access; asynchronous learning.

University of Missouri Independent Study: $165 per semester course, asynchronous learning, nine months to complete a course.

University of Texas at Austin High School : $195 per semester course, asynchronous learning, nine months to complete a course.

Other Resources

The 43 Books Most Frequently Taught Public Schools, Grades 7-12

The American Studies Group at The University of Virginia

An archive of American Studies hypertext projects, all produced here at The University of Virginia. Texts which have recently come on-line or which will be available shortly include works by Crevecoeur, Twain, Poe, Henry Adams, Melville, Joel Chandler Harris, Alexis de Tocqueville, Stephen Crane, Cooper, Dickens, Poe, Jefferson, Charles Brockden Brown, Harriet Wilson, Harriet Jacobs, Thorstein Veblen, D.H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, Max Weber, Booker T. Washington, and Francis Parkman. Hypertextsalso includes two interesting cumulative projects, one based on Henry Nash Smith’s Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth the other on Alan Trachtenberg’s The Incorporation of America.

C-SPAN American Writers A Journey through History

A companion site for C-SPAN’s special television series for 2001. In this series, C-SPAN presents a new live program each week from historic sites associated with the writers’ lives and works such as:

  • Harlem to explore the Harlem Renaissance writers
  • Key West to discover the life and works of Ernest Hemingway

Every program will feature selected writers’ novels, speeches, diaries, essays and life stories, creating a snapshot of American history. Each week, American Writers invites experts to discuss the featured writer’s background and literary significance, the time period the writer lived in and wrote about and the homes and historic sites important to the writer and the works.

Critical Reading: A Guide

This is a guide to what you might look for in analyzing literature, particularly poetry and fiction. An analysis explains what a work of literature means, and how it means it; it is essentially an articulation of and a defense of an interpretation which shows how the resources of literature are used to create the meaningfulness of the text. There are people who resist analysis, believing that it ‘tears apart’ a work of art; however a work of art is an artifice, that is, it is made by someone with an end in view: as a made thing, it can be and should be analyzed as well as appreciated.

Free University Project American Literature CLEP

The material covered in the CLEP exam in America is generally considered equivalent to a two semester lower division college course.

Literature and Poetry Community Center

A collection of resources about poetry, literature, and writers — William Blake, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and others. Hear Allen Ginsberg, Rita Dove, and Stanley Kunitz talk about their work. Watch videos of Americans discussing their favorite poems. Read a weekly column featuring an American poem. Use the guide to streaming video literature to find webcasts of writers discussing their work.

Outline of American Literature

The Outline of American literature, newly revised, traces the paths of American narrative, fiction, poetry and drama as they move from pre-colonial times into the present, through such literary movements as romanticism, realism and experimentation. Available online in HTML or in PDF for printing.

PAL: Perspectives in American Literature – A Research and Reference Guide

Extensive site of resources and references for American Literature organized by period and authors. Created and maintained by Professor Paul Reuben of California State University, Stanislaus. Includes a Scavenger Hunt for Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism in American Fiction.

Teaching Company: Classics of American Literature

84 Lectures on American Literature by college professor. Guidebook includes questions that can be used for essay topics.