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Summer Reading Assignment



AP English Language and Composition  

Your summer assignment consists of the following:

1. Select one nonfiction book from the list provided.
**** Please note **** These books cover various subjects and themes, which may include mature content. Since the student will select from the list for himself/herself, if the student or parent finds the material in one book too mature, the student should choose another book.

** or can provide summaries and reviews of the books to help you decide.

2. Complete a dialectical response journal on your selected book.  The journal will be due on August 17, 2019 Please keep in mind that this assignment will count as a paper/project grade in Quarter 1. Students who wish to take AP LANG MUST complete this assignment.

Summer Reading Book List:

  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  • An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • A Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • I Am Malala by Christine Lamb and Malala Yousafzai
  • The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids by Alexandra Robbins
  • On Writing by Stephen King

Dialectical Response Journal
Dialectic means “the art or practice of arriving at the truth by using conversation involving question and answer.” For this summer assignment, you will complete a dialectical journal for one novel to aid in your understanding of the story and to demonstrate that understanding to your teacher.
Dialectical journals are not overly-complicated and will help you keep track of important points in the text as you read. Through them, you are essentially having a
“conversation” with the text (jotting down insights, questions, ideas, and thoughts) and with yourself. Your goal is to make notes about points in the novel that you find significant, profound, noteworthy, ironic, troublesome, sad, interesting, confusing, etc...
For this summer reading assignment, you should use a composition book to keep your responses together. You must have at least four quotes and reactions (commentary) for each chapter of the book you selected.

How to Create a Dialectical Response Journal

  • Purchase one composition or spiral notebook to serve as your journal. 
  • Please put your name, the course title on the front cover in a clear hand.
    (Neatness in this journal is absolutely essential)
  • Draw a vertical line in the middle of each page in your journal notebook.
  • At the top of the left column, write the heading “Quotes” and at the top of the right column, write the heading “Commentary.”
  • As you read every chapter of each of the novel, complete four journal entries wherein you write the quotation which prompted your question/commentary in the left column. Use MLA style and include the page number in parentheses after each quotation.
  • In the right column, write down YOUR ideas, insights, questions, reflections, or comments on the quote in the corresponding left column.
  • To focus your reading, try to think about literary qualities such as tone, organization, word choice, style, syntax (phrasing and grammar), character analysis, theme, setting, symbolism, your response as a reader, rhetorical devices (devices the author uses to get a particular response from the audience), audience, or speaker.

Choosing Passages from the TEXT
Look for quotes that seem significant, powerful, thought provoking or puzzling. For
example, you might record:
(Italicized bullets are tasks that carry the most importance in regard to scoring well on the AP exam).

  • Effective and/or creative use of stylistic or literary devices
  • Passages that remind you of your own life or something you’ve seen before
  • Structural shifts or turns in the plot (for fiction)
  • A passage that makes you realize something you hadn’t seen before
  • Examples of patterns: recurring images, ideas, colors, symbols or motifs
  • Passages with confusing language or unfamiliar vocabulary
  • Events you find surprising or confusing
  • Passages that illustrate a particular character or setting

How should my dialectal journal be organized?

Model Book used: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Quote from novel w/quotation marks [and pg. #]

Commentary (Your reaction, interpretation, evaluation and analysis to the quote)

“The ship pulled away from the dock. Mam said, that’s the Statue of Liberty and that’s Ellis Island where all the immigrants came in. Then she leaned over the side and vomited and the wind from the Atlantic blew it all over us and another happy people admiring the view. Passengers cursed and ran...Mam hung limp and pale on the ship’s rail” (43).

It’s amazing how McCourt creates such a humorous tone even though he was experiencing a life-altering event. The statue of liberty symbolizes freedom and hope[;] however, McCourt’s mother “vomits” over the side of the ship after seeing it. I wonder if this action might represent the futility of the American Dream. McCourt’s family leaves Ireland for a chance at prosperity, but is McCourt saying (through his humorous tone) that this prosperity is nothing but an illusion?”

How Your Dialectical Journal will be Assessed

A = Detailed, meaningful passages, plot and quote selections; thoughtful interpretation and commentary about the text; includes comments about literary elements (like theme, diction, imagery, syntax, symbolism, etc.) and how these elements contribute to the meaning of the text; raises many thought-provoking, insightful observations; coverage of text is complete and thorough; journal is neat, organized and readable; student has followed ALL directions in the creation/organization of the journal.

B = Less detailed, but good selections; some intelligent commentary about the text; includes some comments about literary elements (like theme, diction, imagery, syntax, symbolism, etc.) but less than how these elements contribute to the meaning of the text; raises some thought-provoking, insightful observations; coverage of text is complete and thorough; journal is neat, organized and readable; student has followed ALL directions in the creation/organization of the journal.

C = A few good details about the text; most of the commentary is vague, unsupported or plot summary/paraphrase; some listing of literary elements, but perhaps inadequate discussion; raises few or obvious observations; addresses most of the reading assignment, but not very thoroughly; journal is relatively neat; student has perhaps not followed all directions in organizing and/or formatting the journal.

D = Hardly any good details from the text; all notes are plot summary or paraphrase; few literary elements, virtually no discussion on meaning; no good observations; limited coverage of text/too short; did not follow directions; difficult to read/follow.

F = No dialectical journal completed on day checked or collected.