Elevate your writing with a Writer's Desk online course.

Your future as a writer lives between the covers of your favorite book.

Of Mice and Men

Is the American Dream possible? Or is it a vivid fantasy? John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men chronicles the friendship between two migrant workers and explores the bitter reality of poverty in Depression-era America. This gut-wrenching narrative questions notions about power and social mobility that are still relevant in America today.

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Select the remote learning environment that works for you. Choose between interactive teacher-led coursework or self-guided learning.

Of Mice and Men

About This Course

John Steinbeck was a Pulitzer-prize-winning storyteller and a perceptive critic of life in 20th-century America. Published in 1937, Of Mice and Men recounts the lives of George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant workers in California who are in search of a better life. An essential American text, this novel provides a window into the ongoing issue of poverty and its profound consequences throughout our country’s history.

In this online course, you’ll develop critical English language skills and bear witness to a story about working-class struggles, hardship, and personal sacrifice. Like every online Writer’s Desk course, our Of Mice and Men curriculum prepares students of all skill levels for college-level reading and writing at the world’s most prestigious universities. Explore the full curriculum below.

Comprehensive curriculum includes:

  • In-depth introduction to the coursework—helping you navigate our engaging online learning environment.
  • Historical background material—you’ll gain a critical understanding of the historical and social context for Of Mice and Men and receive a glossary of 20th-century American slang.
  • 14 engaging lessons, including 60 reading comprehension questions, 30 new vocabulary words, and 5 new literary terms.
  • Challenging writing assignments that will test your mastery of the English language, introduce you to key persuasive writing techniques, and build skills for your future writing.
  • Two content and vocabulary quizzes to help you check your knowledge.
  • 3 grading rubrics with clear performance criteria—which will be used to evaluate your work throughout the class.

The Outsiders

The Outsiders tells the story of the very true and dark struggle between two high school gangs: the working-class Greasers and their rivals, the rich Socials. Written by a teenager for teenagers, The Outsiders is as relevant today as it was when it first appeared in 1967. Master the English language while you enjoy this breakthrough novel that continues to inspire new generations of middle- and high-school readers.

Sign up for this course →Download Spring 2021 Class Schedule

Select the remote learning environment that works for you. Choose between interactive teacher-led coursework or self-guided learning.

The Outsiders

About This Course

Author S.E. Hilton was only 18 when she published The Outsiders. A coming-of-age story, the novel follows narrator Ponyboy Curtis and his working-class friends, who find themselves in the middle of a constant, violent conflict with their richer classmates. Despite glaring differences of wealth and background—and through painful experiences—Ponyboy comes to understand that he and his “enemies” have more in common than it seems.

In our newest Writer’s Desk online course, you’ll build essential skills in reading, vocabulary, critical thinking, and persuasive writing. This small-group online class provides structured lessons and personalized feedback, marrying the benefits of a classroom setting with the flexibility of online learning.

Comprehensive curriculum includes:

  • In-depth introduction to the coursework—helping you navigate our engaging online learning environment.
  • Author profile and supporting material for reading assignments—you’ll gain a critical understanding of the social context for The Outsiders.
  • 21 engaging lesson plans, including 124 reading comprehension questions, 135 new vocabulary words, and 15 new literary terms.
  • Challenging writing assignments that test your mastery of the English language, introduce you to key persuasive writing techniques, and inspire your future writing.
  • Two vocabulary quizzes to help you expand your current reading, writing, and speaking vocabulary and comprehension.
  • Detailed grading rubric that uses specific performance criteria to evaluate your work throughout the class.
  • Final personal essay assignment—the capstone of everything you’ve learned in the course, the personal essay tests your knowledge and ability to write powerfully in your own voice.

The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas - Short Story

Reginald McKnight’s riveting short story “The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas” grapples honestly with America’s difficult racial history. This story about a Black boy coming to terms with his identity sits at the center of the American experience. Develop crucial reading, writing, and critical-thinking skills at your own pace in this self-guided Writer’s Desk course.

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“The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas” is offered as a self-guided course only. Set your schedule and complete coursework at your own pace—and experience the same rigor of our teacher-led courses.

The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas

About This Course

Reginald McKnight’s critically acclaimed short story “The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas” chronicles the struggles of Clint, the young, Black narrator who faces blatant racism from his teacher and peers in his sixth-grade class of mostly white students in Waco, Texas, in the mid-1960s. Through Clint’s journey, McKnight masterfully explores what it feels like to grow up Black in a racist country and presents a unique opportunity to reflect on your own values and stereotypes.

This self-guided, fully remote course provides the resources you need to flourish as an English language reader and writer. Improve your current skills or find inspiration for your own writing—it’s up to you. The flexibility of this remote course allows you to set the pace and learn on your own schedule. Explore the curriculum below.

Comprehensive curriculum includes:

  • In-depth introduction to the coursework—helping you navigate our engaging online learning environment.
  • 3 historical pre-reading passages—you’ll gain a critical understanding of the cultural and social contexts that surround “The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas.”
  • Self-paced coursework, including 34 reading comprehension questions, 33 new vocabulary words, and 8 new literary terms.
  • Challenging writing prompts that will test your mastery of the English language, introduce you to key persuasive writing techniques, and inspire your future writing.
  • 10-question quiz to help evaluate your current reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.
  • Additional resources and related reading opportunities.

Writer's Desk Course Schedule

See what the pros have to say
about Writer's Desk courses.

"The guide is structured in a way that allows international students to learn to think critically about literature and organize and write persuasive essays. [This] will significantly enhance their ability to excel in their studies at a university in the United States by providing them with a set of skills that will be applicable to coursework in many different disciplines."
Nina
NINA CANNON, ADVISOR AT NEW YORK CITY’S HUNTER COLLEGE AND A FORMER MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION IN SCARSDALE, NEW YORK.
"The [curriculum] mobilizes all four basic language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—of a student as he/she learns to digest the novel. It helps prepare the student for classroom settings where the ability to pick up and synthesize complex information is key to fulfilling expected academic goals."
Helen
HELEN GAO, YALE ’11, HARVARD ’16, IS A NEW YORK TIMESCONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER. HER WORK HAS ALSO APPEARED IN THE ATLANTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY.