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Homepage Home > Professional Development > Workshops & Summer Institutes > English > Pre-AP: Strategies in English—Beyond Acronyms: Inquiry-Based Close Reading

Pre-AP: Strategies in English—Beyond Acronyms: Inquiry-Based Close Reading

Expand your English teaching skills, techniques and knowledge in this workshop

The workshop aims to help middle and early high school teachers facilitate inquiry-based practices through close reading in their classrooms. Questioning strategies are used to promote critical thinking, starting at the introductory level.

The workshop teaches participants classroom strategies that guide students to:

  • Ask and generate questions
  • Develop the ability to engage any text
  • Document their own thinking while reading

It conforms to the College Board's mission, particularly in promoting access and equity; National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards; standards and skills in AP English Literature and AP English Language; and the AP Vertical Teams approach.

There are four basic premises behind the inquiry-based critical thinking philosophy:

  1. All students can be taught to inquire and think critically.
  2. Good thinking results from asking good questions.
  3. Students develop critical thinking habits when they are part of a coordinated effort depending on inquiry-based knowledge construction.
  4. The ability to think critically is the foundation on which to build a student's academic success.


  • Define close reading, examine different modes of learning, and explore ideas for writing and holistic scoring
  • Provide students with strategies for responding to and generating questions
  • Suggest specific strategies teachers can incorporate into daily lessons
  • Present Pre-AP strategies that will lay the foundation for student success in rigorous course work


Inquiry-Based Close Reading and Critical Thinking
Close Reading and Questioning
Guided Critical Thinking Question Stems
Dialectical Journal-keeping
Poetry Analysis
Analytical Writing
Holistic Assessment
Reflection and Action Plan

Workshop author

Elizabeth Austin is a middle school assistant principal. She has taught various grade levels over the past 14 years from first to sixth. Ms. Austin has led a district-wide English Vertical Team for four years, served as English Department chair, and as a College Board workshop leader has facilitated a wide variety of Pre-AP workshops and contributed to writing and revising several workshops. She has been a national leader trainer for College Board for four years. She served as the first middle school representative on the College Board steering committee for the AP Annual Conference (formerly called the AP National Conference) for two years and presented a variety of workshops in the Western region, nationwide, and internationally, including the AP National Conferences in Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida.

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