Advanced Composition

Half Year Course – Fall; 90 minutes

This class aims to improve essay writing and written communication skills for upper-level high school students preparing for college writing or aspiring towards an immediate career.

This course will help students attain understanding and competency in writing essays, focusing on expository and persuasive essays. Students will practice choosing appropriate topics, developing ideas, organizing their thoughts using graphic organizers or outlines, and conducting minor research. Before submitting a final paper, students will receive feedback on content, mechanics, and style at various checkpoints.

Since academic writing requires appropriately quoted, summarized, and cited sources, students will progressively learn and integrate the MLA 9th citation format throughout the semester.

FAQ – Will students be required to read aloud or write on the board during class? Students will have opportunities to read their essays aloud in class or ask someone to read a paper for them, but it is not mandatory.

I do expect class participation for exercises and group activities. Students learn so much and are encouraged through the process of reading and hearing each other’s work.

Prerequisite(s): Ability to write a solid paragraph and exposure to the 5-paragraph essay format.



  • How to Write Any High School Essay: The Essential Guide by Jess Liebman – ISBN: 978-153902-981-6 ($10.95 at Amazon)
  • MLA Made Easy: Your Concise Guide to the 9th Edition by Mark Hatala – ISBN: 978-193316-760-2 ($14.95 at Amazon)
  • A grammar book or website app:
    • Book options: More Knitty Gritty Grammar, the current edition of Barron’s Painless Grammar, or another authoritative book of choice
    • Website options:, Grammarly Handbook,, or another authoritative site.
  • The ability to upload and submit assignments online as .docx documents and .jpg or .pdf picture formats


  • Subscription to Grammarly Premium as grammar & style resource
  • MLA Handbook Ninth edition – ISBN: 978-1-60329-351-8; recommended for college-bound students that anticipate many courses requiring research papers.

Required Materials:

  • 1” to 1.5” 3-ring binder with five tabs
  • Composition book (can be half-used) or extra tab and loose-leaf paper within the binder
  • Blue/black ink pen
  • Set of 5 different color highlighters (yellow, pink, blue, green, then purple or orange)
  • Small pack of index cards
  • Two or three colors of medium-sized sticky notes.

Additional Fee:

  • $25 fee for in-class handouts

Instructor: Carolyn Graessle

Revised: 25 March 2022 for School Year 2022/2023