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Beyond the AP Stylebook

I love the AP Stylebook. I drive my students crazy with stressful games, long worksheets and emphatic tirades about using AP Style. But even 503 pages of rules is not enough for me. I needed to create the Style Booklet.


It’s two pieces of 8x11 paper formatted on InDesign to create a foldable 8-page booklet. It features a 9-pt Palatino or 8-pt Avenir Condensed text to make everything fit. I put a date on the top because it is constantly updated, and then I clip it to the copies of the AP Stylebook that sit between each computer.


The first section contains 38 entries in the same style and tone of the AP Stylebook because sometimes

I want to disagree with the AP Stylebook (our school priest is Father Matthew Nagle on first reference, not the Rev. Matthew Nagle)

I want to add to the book (spell it St. Teresa’s on first reference, not Saint Theresa’s Academy or other variations)

I want to emphasize common mistakes by pointing students to pages in the AP Stylebook.


After the 38 entries, I include a list of all 900+ students at Aquinas. We have a Student Council member named Elizabeth, but everyone calls her Itsy. She’s even listed in our school handbook as Itsy. Her campaign posters call her Itsy. But her Twitter handle is Elizabeth. It would be perfectly understandable and excusable for one reporter to call her Elizabeth and another to call her Itsy. But I don’t want that. So the staff sends an e-mail to all students and asks them how they would like to be known in all instances in the newspaper and yearbook. We don’t get a reply from every student, but at least we can say we asked. If they do not reply, we go with their official enrollment name.


And finally, the Style Booklet lists the 80 or so staff members with their official job title.


My entries

Your list will be much different than mine, but The Shield & Medallion style booklet makes an exception or a clarification in the following instances: 5A, administrative titles, Blue Valley/Olathe/Shawnee Mission high schools, Catholic, championships, coaches, the commons, course names, dances, Dr. / doctor, drives (charity), Eastern Kansas League, high school, Johnson County Community College, junior varsity, Kansas City, Mass, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Spirit Shop, St. James, St. Teresa’s, Source said, Student Council, teacher, teams, Treat America Food Services and WPA.

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