In this session of our #APLangTop5 Most Difficult Concept Series, we focus on concretely explaining what commentary is, why it matters in the context of each essay format, and how to scaffold instruction so that students understand how to create analysis and logical coherence within their responses.


This session begins with an explanation of the most basic principles of commentary: cause and effect language and analytical verbs. We discuss how and why these are the crux of commentary while providing a bank of words/phrases/transitions for students to use in their own commentary.


Explanation and examples are provided for the rhetorical analysis, argument, and synthesis responses—all which underscore the importance of using cause-effect language and analytical verbs across multiple modes of discourse. In addition to explaining how to create commentary and why these principles work in different contexts, each explanation is supplemented with a color-coded example, showing the logical coherence and relationship between the topic sentence, evidence, and commentary for each of the three essay responses.


At the end of this session, it is our hope that teachers and students will feel that they have a concrete approach to defining and creating commentary for all three essay responses, as well as why the basic principles for creating commentary are relevant across all modes of discourse.



Watch the next video in our series, for Concept #1, here!

Click here to download the presentations for the full series — use in your daily lessons!


Lauren Peterson (Master of Arts, Education) has been teaching AP® English Language and Composition in a number of states for more than ten years, most recently at Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, where she is also the schoolwide literacy leader. Before this position, Lauren served as a curriculum and instructional coach in Duval County, Florida. Lauren worked for College Board on a pilot curriculum designed to both remediate common AP® English Language challenges and also prepare students for Microsoft Office Specialist Certification. As an independent consultant for the National Math and Science Initiative, Lauren has written diverse curricula used by students across the country as well as training materials for beginning and experienced AP® English Language teachers. Lauren served as an AP® English Language Reader and continues to work as an AP® English Language trainer for new and experienced teachers.


Timothy Freitas (Master of Arts, Teaching, Secondary English Education), a College Board-endorsed AP® English Language and Composition consultant, has been teaching AP® English Language and Composition for more than a decade and AP® English Literature and Composition for almost as long. He has also been an AP® Reader and in 2017 was invited to work on the College Board’s Instructional Design Team for the new AP® English Language and Composition framework. Timothy works as a consultant and professional development facilitator for Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative (now Mass Insight Education) and is typically assigned to work in New York City when consulting for the National Math and Science Initiative. Timothy teaches in Massachusetts, currently at Whitinsville Christian School and formerly at Blackstone Valley Tech.


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