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To: All English Students Grades 8 – 12

From: DHS English Department

Date: Summer 2012

Re: Summer Reading

Extra Credit Opportunity

AP English Language and Composition Assignment

Congratulations on your promotion to the next grade in middle school or high school! You are one step closer to your goal of graduating as a competent reader and writer. This summer we, as an English staff, would like to see you maintain and enhance your critical reading skills. In order to do this, reading must be done over the summer. Please read the following letter carefully for the instructions to this summer assignment. It is imperative you read the entire assignment, so when you read and/ or select your book, you will have a better understanding of the assignment expectations. Choose your book wisely and enjoy!
Random/ informal thoughts to pass on about summer reading and writing:

  • Do read all the assignment requirements before reading your novel.

  • Don’t simply choose the novel that all your friends are selecting.

  • Do buy your own book to use, or use a book you have at home. This way you can make notes in the book as you read (active reading) which will be valuable when completing the written assignment and preparing for the essay evaluation.

(The school may have a copy of the books to preview, but not enough for everyone to check out.)

  • Don’t expect these novels to be your typical “summer” reading. Most are not action-packed thrillers. Many are character driven, not action/plot driven novels so most of the conflict is internal, not external, so. . .

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to complete the assignment.

  • Don’t rush the reading. It would be very difficult to complete all at once. Start reading early during the summer and pace yourself.

  • Do buy the Cliff Notes, but don’t rely on them. Remember – we also know where to obtain a copy!!

  • Do talk with each other about it during the summer. It will help you process the material.

  • Do spend most of your time and effort on the “personal reactions” section when completing the written work.

  • Do allow time for rereading sections or comments you’ve made while reading.

  • Don’t rush through the ending of the novel. Again, pacing is important.

  • Don’t wait too long after finishing the reading to complete the written assignment.

We look forward to working with you and would be happy to meet with you individually to answer any questions you may have regarding your English course or summer reading opportunity.

Have a great summer and enjoy your book. We’ll be glad to see you on the first day of school!!

Mrs. Parsons, Mrs. Paul, Mrs. Perleberg, and Mrs. Van Pevenage

Reading Selections and Parameters
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 6th Edition by Joseph Gibaldi

Highly suggested resource book for juniors and seniors:


This will be a valuable resource in high school and college.
Seniors: Extra credit option

Choose a novel by a British author

Make sure you have an actual British author (do some research if necessary)

The novel must be a minimum of 200 pages unless it is a book listed below.

AP English Language and Composition (Juniors):

Required Reading: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Do the favorite “Top Ten Quotes” part of the

assignment described on the attached pages. The assignment will be due the first week of school.

Extra Credit: Any other book off the list with accompanying written work.
Juniors: Extra credit option for non-AP students

Choose a novel by an American author

Make sure you have an actual American author (do some research if necessary)

The novel must be a minimum of 200 pages unless it is a book listed below.

Sophomores, Freshmen and 8th Graders: Extra Credit Option
In order to select a book or an author you may:

  • Look for suggestions on the internet

  • Read the attached suggestion list

  • Ask for suggestions from friends or siblings

  • Ask a librarian or bookstore clerk

Suggested Reading Selection for Grades 8-12
Title Author Title Author

A Day No Pigs Would Die


A Lesson Before Dying


A Walk to Remember




Because of Winn-Dixie **


Black and White


Black Like Me


Black Pearl




Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul


Child Called It




Crispin:The Cross of Lead**


Dear Mr. Henshaw **


Diamond Throne


Ender's Game or Ender's Shadow


Fahrenheit 451


Fallen Angels


Forgotten Fire


Golden Compass


Hatchet **




Holes **


House of the Scorpion


I heard the Owl Call My Name


Into the Wild


Left for Dead


Life of Pi




Miracle Worker **




Ordinary People


Peter and the Starcatchers


Red Kayak


Robot City




Sign of the Beaver **


Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants






Tears of a Tiger


The Horse and His Boy **


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe **


The Magician's Nephew **


The Naming


The Notebook


The Order of the Phoenix **


The Prince and the Pauper **


The Red Pony (school has copies to check out)


The Witch of Blackbird Pond**


Touching Spirit Bear


Travel Team


Tuesdays With Morrie


Warriors Don't Cry


  • Books which have an asterisk are for 8th grade only. Any other book on the list may also be read by an 8th grader. The books marked with an asterisk are NOT options for the other grade levels.

  • Freshmen and sophomore students may read any book WITHOUT an asterisk.

  • Juniors read an American author (research nationality if necessary).

  • Seniors read a British author (research nationality if necessary).

Summer Reading Opportunity” Guidelines

After reading the entire novel, complete section I, II, and III of this assignment sheet. Spend more of your time, effort, and writing on the personal reaction. At this point, we are more interested in your personal reactions to the novel than we are your literary analysis. All work should be typed (unless otherwise arranged) and ready to be turned in the first day of school. Please staple each section separately.
All assignments (except AP assignments described on the “Selections and Parameters” sheet in this packet) are extra credit only!! You may choose one or all of these sections to do. If you decide to do this, you must answer thoroughly. Only reflective, thorough answers that are written correctly will gain extra credit. If you are looking for more of a challenge in an assignment, this may be what you’re looking for. Why not get some extra credit before the school year even begins?!
No rough draft, cover sheet, or folder is necessary. Each section will be evaluated on thoroughness of response and understanding of the novel. In all answers, please avoid plot summary (except when explicitly asked for); we already know what happens in the novels. We are more interested in what you think about the novel.

Book Report Format

  1. Personal Reaction (2 - 5 paragraph range)

A. What are your initial reactions immediately after finishing the novel? This

is a non-academic response (initial thoughts and feelings expressed in personal terms) to the novel, but it should be written as a formal essay. Please be honest, but appropriate, about your thoughts.

B. How do aspects of this book relate to your life?
II. Quotes

  1. Provide a list of your favorite “Top Ten Quotes” from your novel.

  2. Include a page number where the quote may be found.

  3. With each quote provide a brief explanation regarding the significance of the quote.

III. What Literally Is Going On?

  1. Plot (2 paragraphs max.)

In your own words, provide a very short summary of the novel’s dramatic situation and major conflicts. What are internal/external conflicts and how are they resolved? Highlight the beginning, middle and end of the plot. Show cause and effect relationships

  1. Setting (2 paragraphs max.)

      1. Physical – What is the actual geographic setting and general environment?

      2. Emotional – Is there an important emotional setting/ mood that pervades the novel?

      3. How does the physical setting affect emotional setting?

      4. How does the setting affect the character? How does the setting contribute to the novel as a whole?

      5. Consider why significant events occur in certain settings.

  1. Characters

      1. List all major characters and include a one paragraph summary of the following information for each:

          • physical description

          • key personality traits

          • motivating factors and values (external, internal,

positive, negative)

          • personal conflicts

      1. Copy one quote from the novel that is particularly relevant for each character.

  1. Symbols

      1. What symbols can you discover in names, objects, places, situations, colors, or actions?

      2. Are there any words/ ideas/ objects that reoccur creating a motif?

      3. What additional levels of meaning are there?

(i.e. multiple meanings for one symbol)

      1. What are the abstract qualities the symbols represent?

      2. What is the purpose/ function of the symbol(s)? What do they mean in the context of the novel?

      3. What is the author trying to communicate through the use of the symbol?

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