2006 P Lang Sample Essays

1st Quarter: What is Your Narrative?


On Writing today

This Boy's Life Reading Questions

Close Reading Multiple Choice Reading

The Five Things You Need To Know About the Common Application

SAT Makeover Aims to Reflect Classroom

Questions for SAT Makeover

2nd Quarter: Rhetorical analysis

2nd Quarter Writers Notebooks
1. Botstein SAT Hoax and Fraud
2. Gladwell's How David Beats Goliath
3. The AP Q2 Week in Tampa
4. Rowling Analysis
5. Letter of Recommendation
6. The Terminology Cheat Sheet
--writers may substitute NEW college application essays OR Better together stories for WNs. BE SURE TO LABEL YOUR WRITERS NOTEBOOK SO THEY APPLY TO THE CORRESPONDING ALMA ASSIGNMENT. 

Letter of Recommendation

The 3 Major Essays for the Quarter:
1. The Test on Rhetorical Terms. This is a in-class test, on Tuesday, 11/21. Know the terms on the rhetorical terms cheat sheet. Be able to analyze devices in short passages. Be able to recognize satire, and its effect. 
Also, check out this APQ2, and sample rhetorical analysis paragraphs 

Extra Credit Toward the Test on Rhetorical Terms

2. The Quarterly Reading Writers Notebook(see 2nd Quarter) Give a good reading! 

3, The APQ2 
​a. Search various non fiction sources, such as your quarterly reading, the OP-Ed pages of the newspaper, The Ringer,  Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Medium, etc. Find a non fiction essay or passage from the essay.(1 hour)
b. Format the essay/passage in columns so it fits on ONE SIDE of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.(3 min)
c. At the top of the page, WRITE A NUMBER 2 AP INTRODUCTION AND QUESTION. (10 min)
d. Write the essay. You may write in pen or compose on a computer. (1 hour)
e. Due December 15.  
See these sample effective and not effective responses to APQ2
This score will replace your Booth Luce Analysis.
2006   the 2006 questions
2012  the 2012 questions

Elizabeth Kolberts Big Score

Malcolm Gladwell's How David Beats Goliath

WN 2: David and Goliath Reading Questions

Malcolm Gladwell's Getting in

Here's an effective rhetorical analysis paragraph ​on a passage from MLK's I Have a Dream

Read Susan Orlean's Little Wing
Read Photo Essays at No Caption Necessary

2. extra credit option
The APQ3:
Select ONE of the prompts for the AP Free Response Question 3. Due Thursday January 6. (Recommended time: 1st draft: 45 minutes. Second draft, 1 hour. Total: 1 hour 45 min)
​Again, DO NOT put your name on the submission. 
See the below samples of effective and not effective responses to APQ3. 
2014  response for the 2014 prompt
2011  response for the 2011 prompt

The Letter of Recommendation

Examples of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

3rd Quarter: Citizens United and the Synthesis Question

The Citizens United Synthesis Question

The CU Source Page

The 2014 question --writers notebook 1 and 2

Source Summaries

Sample Source Summary

Citizens United Frees Political Speech
Dark Money on the Rise
The CU Disaster That Never Happened (WSJ)
Corporations Spend More Than Taxpayers
The Nature of a Corporation as Basis for Argument by John Hasnas on Ebsco 
The Story of Citizens United(youtube)
What You Probably Haven't Heard about Citizens United(youtube)
What is Citizens United: An Introduction

MLA Writers Notebook

The Migration Policy Institute
The Case For Amnesty
The Case Against Amnesty
More Argument For Amnesty
More Arguments Against Amnesty

The Gender Pay Gap Synthesis Question

Gender Pay Gap Resource Page
Sample MLA paper annotated

4th Quarter: Develop a Position

Putting it all Together: the home stretch

Income Inequality Debate
1. Read the following sources. 
2. Write a 150 word source summary for EACH. See Source Summary Guidelines
3. Write a 300  word essay that develops a position on the notion of the US becoming an oligarchy.  
Teixiera - Politcal Inequality = Economic Inequality
Skocpol - Organize to Re-democratize Nation
Stimson - Don't Underestimate Power of Public
Winship - Few Disagreements Between Classes

Course Syllabus and Methods, 2017-18
Rhetorical Strategies Handbook.
Another Rhetorical Devices Handbook.
Literary Terms and Devices
Recommended Quarterly Readings

AP Lang Scoresheet
The AP Comp Grading Scale

The Writer's notebook is the place where the writer goes to work. Start with a prompt, an idea, a spark. We often write in class. Following the first pass of the draft, revise and polish as best you can for the submitted and graded writer's notebook. Students are required to complete 6 every quarter. Note: SOME major project drafts count toward your 6 total, if you choose. Be sure to label submissions, so I can score them in their corresponding Alma assignment. May this be the place where you experiment and explore, then revise into a submittable piece.

Recommended Quarterly Readings
Quarterly Readings Writers Notebook
Try an Essay Writing Experiment
The MLA Writers Notebook
The 50 word story
125 persuasive essay topics 
The 2016 Cole Essay Contest
Open Letter Writers Notebook
Describe the Street Where You Grew Up
Write a One ACT Play
Open Letter to Things Unlikely to Respond
Collective Voice Writer's Notebook
Write a Descriptive Essay!
Thoughts on the Descriptive Essay
How To Write Good
Best Comic Ever Writer's Notebook
Try these writer's block breakers from world authors!
 The America Library of Poetry Contest
Poetry Projects

Rhetorical Analysis of Sample Writers Notebook
1. How many sentences in the first paragraph?
2. Highlight the THESIS of the essay.
3. Discuss how the writer generates the argument from A POSITION OF STRENGTH. What are the principles that make the foundation for a strong argument?
4. Highlight SEVEN signal phrases.
5. Draw a line indicating the SHIFT in the essay.
6. The paragraph on p.3 "The USPS must..."
Write a sentence that describes the function EACH SENTENCE performs in the entire paragraph.
for example:
-- "The first sentence transitions from essay's thesis to explain necessary effective changes.

Tutorials, Study Guides, and Easy Scoring Calculator at AP Pass 
AP Lang Know The Enemy
Mr. G's Multiple Choice Primer
How to Read Critically
AP Test Formats for ALL disciplines
Six Steps to the Synthesis Question
Rhetorical Strategies Hanbook

Rhetorical Strategies Cheat Sheet

Sample Intros to Exam Question 2: Guess which one scored an 8.

Scholastic Writing Awards
Teen literary journals


With much earlier identification of hearing loss come expectations that increasing numbers of deaf children will develop literacy abilities comparable to their hearing age peers. To date, despite claims in the literature for parallel development between hearing and deaf learners with respect to early literacy learning, it remains the case that many deaf children do not go on to develop age-appropriate reading and writing abilities. Using written language examples from both deaf and hearing children and drawing on the developmental models of E. Ferreiro (1990) and D. Olson (1994), the discussion focuses on the ways in which deaf children draw apart from hearing children in the third stage of early literacy development, in the critical move from emergent to conventional literacy. Reasons for, and the significance of, this deviation are explored, with an eye to proposing implications for pedagogy and research, as we reconsider what really matters in the early literacy development of deaf children.

Earlier identification of hearing loss allows for earlier intervention and raises expectations that increasing numbers of deaf children will develop language and literacy abilities that are comparable to their hearing age peers.1 By implication, such expectations focus attention on what happens in the early years of literacy learning as these experiences have been shown to be critical to future success for hearing children. It is during these years that the groundwork is laid for understanding the functions of text and the strategies that can be employed to make sense of print, including the principles of how an alphabetic writing system works. “Emergent literacy at school entry may be viewed as particularly important because of its association with later reading [and writing] skills and the importance of these abilities for school success generally” (Barnett, 2001, p. 421). There would be no reason to imagine that these abilities are any less important in the case of children who are deaf.

“A robust body of knowledge exists about the first five years of life and the extent to which children's early experiences correlate with their competencies in language and literacy” (Ramey & Ramey, 2006, p. 445). With respect to hearing children, much has been written as to the nature of the experiences and interventions that support optimal early literacy development, especially for those learners who are at particular risk of having difficulty developing literacy skills. By virtue of their hearing loss, deaf children fall into this at-risk group, and given the renewed emphasis on the importance of early intervention, it is timely that we revisit our understandings of the nature of early literacy development for these learners.

Suggestions have been made that, with respect to early literacy development,2 deaf children follow similar trajectories to those of their hearing counterparts. In a review of the literature, Williams (2004) writes that “deaf children's emergent reading reflected the developmental sequence of hearing children described in the research literature” (p. 356) and that “young deaf children's emergent writing development may be similar to that of hearing children” (p. 361).

Given these indications of a parallel start, it would seem reasonable to expect that most deaf children would go on to develop text-based literacy abilities commensurate with their hearing age peers. Yet it remains the case that 50% of deaf students graduate from secondary school with a fourth grade reading level or less (Traxler, 2000), and 30% leave school functionally illiterate (Marschark, Lang, & Albertini, 2002). This begs the question as to when the language-learning trajectories of deaf children begin to draw apart from hearing learners to the extent that outcomes are so divergent, suggesting that perhaps the early literacy development of these two groups is less similar than it appears on the surface. Are there aspects of development that are playing out differently between the two groups that we have failed to take into account? Are these the aspects that are critical to future success in learning to read and write? Are we missing what really matters in the early literacy development of deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) children?

Language and Early Literacy Development

To provide a background for a discussion of these questions, it is necessary to consider the linguistic prerequisites for developing the ability to read and write and how these are acquired by both hearing and deaf children.3 A fundamental premise, at least in the case of hearing learners, is that there is an intimate connection between language acquisition and subsequent literacy development, such that children who begin schooling with stronger language abilities have a relatively easier time making the move to text-based literacy. This relationship between language and literacy is well documented (see Beck & Olah, 2001), and there is an extensive body of evidence to indicate that a broadly conceived notion of language skills, which includes vocabulary, syntax, discourse, and phonemic awareness, is fundamental for early and long-term literacy success (for an in-depth discussion, see Dickinson, McCabe, & Essex, 2006). This connection is now taken for granted in the case of hearing children, and the commonsense notion that follows is that “literacy develops when children have encounters with print, presumably written in a language which the child speaks” (Perez, 2004, p. 57). Similar arguments have been made with respect to deaf children with the suggestion that, given the importance of the relationship between the face-to-face and written forms of English, more attention must be paid to how the development of spoken and/or signed English relates to literacy development in this population (Paul, 1998, 2003).

For deaf children, the import of this language–early literacy connection can have implications in two ways. First, many deaf children have delays in their face-to-face language development which can negatively affect literacy learning. “The frequently reported low literacy levels among students with severe to profound hearing impairment are, in part, due to the discrepancy between their incomplete spoken language system and the demands of reading a speech-based system” (Geers, 2006, p. 244). Second, deaf children whose first language is not English (e.g., ASL or some other spoken or signed language) are faced with developing literacy in a language they may not have yet acquired.

Mayer and Wells (1996) provide a framework (see Table 1) for considering the relationship of language and literacy in the development of both hearing and deaf learners that can be used as a model for considering how early literacy is positioned with respect to the development of face-to-face language (spoken, signed, or some combination) and the subsequent development of reading and writing.

Table 1

Phases in the process of becoming literate

Goal Hearing D/HH using spoken language as L1 D/HH using natural signed language as L1 
Learning the first language Spoken L1 Signed L1 
Social to inner speech Egocentric spoken L1 Egocentric signed L1 
Inner to written speech Spoken L1 ???? 
Learning the synoptic genre Spoken L1 ???? 
Goal Hearing D/HH using spoken language as L1 D/HH using natural signed language as L1 
Learning the first language Spoken L1 Signed L1 
Social to inner speech Egocentric spoken L1 Egocentric signed L1 
Inner to written speech Spoken L1 ???? 
Learning the synoptic genre Spoken L1 ???? 

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Mayer and Wells (1996) outline four overlapping phases in the process of becoming literate, with progress through the phases depending on having a linguistic bridge or means to mediate development in and between phases and on having access to a language-learning situation that meets a particular set of conditions. These conditions are (a) adequate exposure in quality and quantity, (b) to accessible linguistic input, (c) in meaningful interactions, (d) with others who are already capable users of the language. Although there is certainly variability with respect to the relative quality of these linguistic interactions for all learners (Wells, 1986), it can be generally assumed that for most hearing children the minimal conditions for language acquisition are being met.

The first phase in the process is concerned with the development of language for face-to-face communication. Given the above conditions are in place, language acquisition at this stage happens relatively effortlessly as children use language as a tool to mediate interactions in their environment. In this way, the means to acquiring the language is the use of the language itself (Halliday, 1975), and this can happen just as effectively in a spoken or a natural signed language—or perhaps, in the signed form of a spoken language (Luetke-Stahlman, 1998).

However it is worth noting that, unlike the situation for most hearing children, for deaf children there are usually challenges to be addressed with respect to meeting at least one of the necessary language-learning conditions (e.g., making the input accessible via amplification or signed language). The result is that many deaf children may not have acquired a face-to-face form of their first language in the unfettered way that their hearing counterparts have. Given improvements in amplification technology (including cochlear implants) and possibilities for more timely educational interventions, one of the anticipated benefits of earlier identification of hearing loss is that deaf children will have increased probabilities of developing age-appropriate language skills. Yet despite advances in many areas, there continue to be concerns in this regard (see the discussion in Paatsch, Blaney, Sarant, & Bow, 2006).

Without a full face-to-face language in place, deaf children often do not have the requisite basis in place for age-appropriate cognitive and literacy development. There is a need to emphasize this point as suggestions have been made that face-to-face language (spoken or signed) is not a key element in the early literacy development of deaf children and that even in the absence of much fluency in this area, deaf children are able to make “gains in literacy knowledge comparable to those made by hearing children” (Rottenberg & Searfoss, 1992, p. 477). Although it is certainly true that print can and should be meaningfully introduced to children at a very young age, it is not the case that, for hearing children, this exposure to print occurs in absence or lieu of concomitant spoken language development.

There is no reason to believe that deaf children are unique in this respect. Dyson (2001), in making reference to Ramsey (1997), contends that “it is difficult to see how children could learn to compose with written graphics unless they could already use comfortably a natural language (spoken or signed) as a tool to plan, narrate, make queries and even reflect on, and analytically examine speech itself” (p. 128). Thus, it can be argued that the first aspect of what matters in early literacy development is that children have near to age-appropriate spoken and/or signed language fluency in place. All subsequent claims made in this paper with respect to early literacy learning are predicated on this premise.

In Phase 2, the move is from the use of language for communication with others (intermental) to communication with oneself (intramental), and the child begins to employ language as a tool for thinking (Vygotsky, 1978). The outward manifestation of this development is the use of egocentric speech or egocentric sign as children use knowledge of their face-to-face language to “think out loud.” In this way, cognition is shaped by the nature of the language that has already been acquired, and children can be said to think in the language in which they speak and/or sign. Because there is such an intimate connection between face-to-face language and cognition, the quality of the discourse children have experienced shapes and provides the substance for what is thought about. The ability to think in a language and to later read and write it has much to do with how well one can communicate in the language in the first place (Vygotsky, 1978; Watson, 1996, 2001; Wells, 1981).

Phase 3 is pivotal to this discussion of early literacy development as it is at this point that children are asked to express themselves, not only in their face-to-face to language but also in print. Things that have heretofore been spoken, signed, or thought about must now be committed to paper. This can be a daunting task as children try to make sense of the relationships between the language they already know and the language of print, encountering “rich conflicts” along the way (Grossi, 1990). Learning of reading and writing, although not children's first attempts at making representations, does constitute “their first encounter with what will appear to them as arbitrarily constructed, unmotivated signs” (Kress, 1994, p. 219).

To accomplish this task, hearing children exploit knowledge of their face-to-face language as they talk their way into text. “Children are highly proficient in all aspects of the syntax of speech at this stage. That proficiency provides the linguistic foundation on which they build when they first learn to [read and] write” (Kress, 1994, p. 53). This is the point in the literacy-learning process when the commonalities between speech (sign) and print are more important than the asymmetries, as children rely on these commonalities to decode and encode print (Perfetti, 1987).

The questions that arise when thinking about the early literacy development of deaf children rest on how these learners make sense of print and how it is that they talk or sign their way into text. How do they resolve the rich conflicts that arise when they sort out the relationships between their face-to-face language and text? What are the necessary understandings about print that must be established at this stage if age-appropriate literacy is to be achieved? The focus for the remainder of this paper will be on a detailed examination of this third phase of development as it is central to the question of what matters for deaf children in their early literacy development.

However, before moving on to this examination, it would be important to make note of what occurs in Phase 4 as this is the level that is concerned with the development of literacy for educational purposes. At this stage, it is assumed that basic literacy has been established and that the connection between face-to-face language and print has been made. This stage is typified by more complex uses of text and the use of the synoptic genre. It is in the synoptic written genres (e.g., expository texts such as essays, arguments, etc.) that discipline-based knowledge is typically constructed and communicated, typified by the use of low-frequency vocabulary, compound–complex grammatical constructions, and grammatical metaphor (Halliday, 1993). Fluency at this stage goes far beyond a functional level of literacy (i.e., Grade 6 level), is necessary for advanced academic study, and is the standard by which success as a literacy learner is often measured—a standard that many deaf learners often fail to meet.

Stages of Early Literacy Development

In most discussions of emergent literacy, stages are proposed to describe early written language development. Most of these frameworks focus on the development of spelling, following from the seminal work of Read (1971). Given that it is not spelling but reading and writing that are most problematic for deaf children (Kyle & Harris, 2006; Mayer, 1998), the three levels suggested by Ferreiro (1990) have been adopted as the basis for describing the early literacy development of deaf children. Ferreiro's levels are particularly useful as they focus on the ways in which the relationships between face-to-face language and text develop in the young literacy learner. Although spelling is an inescapable aspect of this development, Ferreiro focuses on the ways in which children come to understand three different representation systems for making meaning—spoken language, drawing, and writing. She argues that the emergence of writing follows a process from a general understanding that writing is distinct from drawing, to a specific awareness of letter/sound correspondence (Perez, 2004).

As is characteristic of many discussions of early literacy development in hearing children, writing, rather than reading, will be used as the basis for the analysis. More specifically, written samples will be used as the means for comparing young deaf and hearing writers in order to consider the texts of deaf children in relation to what is typically seen in the development of hearing children and to illustrate the features of development at each stage. It needs to be clarified here that the purpose in using these examples is to provide a fulcrum for a theoretical discussion of what is necessary for the development of age-appropriate literacy. The specific details of the two studies from which the samples are taken have been reported elsewhere (Mayer, 1998; New Zealand Ministry of Education, 2005) and will not be repeated here. That said, it is still necessary to provide sufficient background information about the children in these two studies to provide a basis for the interpretation of the samples and a sense as to the extent to which the claims made might be generalizable to the broader population of deaf children.

A total of 115 deaf children were involved in the two studies. However, given the focus on early literacy, only samples from the 30 writers between the ages of 4 and 7 years were considered for this paper as this represents the group who would be typically identified as early literacy learners. All these children attended public schools (in a school for the deaf or in a mainstreamed setting) and used sign or some combination of speech and sign as their primary means of communication. As is too often the case, a number of these children did not have a firmly established first language (signed or spoken) upon school entry. With few exceptions, the children had profound hearing losses and regularly used some form of personal and/or group amplification. The extent to which this amplification provided access to spoken English varied among the children, and given the fact that they all used sign to communicate, it could be argued that as a group they did not have full access to language via audition alone. It would also be fair to say that the level of signed language proficiency varied from child to child with some relying more on a natural signed language (ASL or New Zealand Sign Language) and others on some form of English-based sign.

With respect to generalizability, it is also reasonable to suggest that this group of young literacy learners is representative of deaf children in similar contexts as the nature of their written products is similar to those reported in other studies of early literacy development (e.g., Andrews & Gonzales, 1991; Ewoldt, 1985; Ruiz, 1995; Schleper, 1992). And even though all these young writers use sign as an aspect of their communication, what we learn from them has relevance for thinking about early literacy development in oral deaf children as well, as the key issue is language not modality. What is also telling is that even though there is considerable group variation with respect to the nature of their early experiences and cognitive and linguistic aptitudes, there is very little difference among the writers in their early efforts to create English text. This seems to indicate that there are other common underlying issues that may help to explain why such a diverse group of deaf children produce texts that are so much alike.

In the following sections, three levels of early written language development are presented, in which the products of hearing and deaf writers of like ages are juxtaposed in order to draw attention to the similarities and differences among them at each stage. These examples are intended to be illustrative of what is (or should be) happening at each stage and to indicate differences between young hearing and deaf writers that could help inform our understanding of early literacy development in deaf children. This premise is driven by the fact that, in the case of hearing children, the sequence of early written language development is well documented (Tolchinsky, 2006), with any divergence from this pattern indicating potential difficulties with future literacy learning (Clay, 2002; Cramer, 2006). Looking at the development of deaf writers against this backdrop could help illuminate how departures from expected patterns may matter in terms of later literacy development.

Level 1: Distinguishing Writing From Drawing

In Level 1, children search for criteria to make the distinctions between the visual representations of drawing and writing. The key understanding developed during this level is the notion that, although the same kinds of lines are used in both drawing and writing, the lines function differently in terms of what they are meant to represent. “When we draw, the lines are organized following the object's contours; when we write, the same lines do not follow the object's contours. When writing, we are outside the iconic domain” (Ferreiro, 1990, p. 15). Drawings look like the objects they are meant to represent, whereas writing does not (i.e., the picture of the house vs. the word “house”).

In their first attempts at writing (vs. drawing), children essentially draw a picture of the text, making it look like the examples of texts they have seen. Although the two products may appear indistinguishable to the viewer, children can differentiate between them so that even though both representations may look scribbles, the child will identify one as the picture and the other as the text (Harste, Woodward, & Burke, 1984). With active opportunities to explore text, writing begins to assume an even more text-like form (e.g., scribbles that move from left to right, parallel rows of scribbles, spaces between scribbles), and children begin to incorporate standard letters into their writing in a random fashion. This is a consequence of exposure to print in the environment and a growing awareness that letters are a regular feature of text.

Children assign meaning to texts at this level, and they understand that written language is a form of communication. But because representations are not standard, the meaning cannot be reconstructed from the text without the assistance of the author. As the text itself does not drive the retelling, the reading of the text may change from one incarnation to the next. Overall this first level in children's thinking produces two major accomplishments: “(1) to consider strings of letters as substitute objects, and (2) to make a clear distinction between two modes of representation—the iconic mode (to draw) and the noniconic mode (to write)” (Ferreiro, 1990, p. 16).

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