File - Mrs. Geidel AP English Language and Composition

AP English Language and Composition Summer Reading
For this course, you will be asked to complete a summer reading assignment. You will read four works and respond to
them in writing. You are not required to purchase the books. You may use the library or borrow them from others if you
like. Keep in mind, though, that we will be using the books throughout the year. If you choose not to purchase the texts,
please make sure you have access to the books during the school year.
Book 1: The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick
This novella is a piece of Holocaust literature. It is a fictional account of a camp survivor told in two stories. The first
story, “The Shawl,” is a short story that takes place in the camp. The second, “Rosa,” is a longer piece that tells what
happens to the main character many years after the camps. Please read both pieces.
Book 2: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This novel is a piece of literature generated at the end of the Harlem Renaissance. It follows the journey of a young
African American woman as she finds her identity and her place in American society. She travels literally through
geography and spiritually through her relationships and her own self-discovery.
Book 3: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
This novel is a piece of American literature dealing with the complicated issues of slavery and race relationships in the
South during this time period. The story focuses on a young, poor white boy and an African American slave as they both
run away from home for very different reasons. A friendship is born that spans age, race, and social issues.
Book 4: The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
This play is a piece of British literature that focuses on themes of ambition, betrayal, loyalty, and morality. The story
focuses on the conspiracy to murder Julius Caesar as his ambition allows him to rise in power in Rome. This is the oldest
piece on our summer reading list, and the vocabulary and verse make this a challenging piece. I strongly encourage you
to utilize No Fear Shakespeare ( as a study guide for this work. This site pairs Shakespeare’s original
text with a translation in contemporary English. While I recommend this as a tool, please do not read the translation in
lieu of the actual work.
Required: Reading and Writing
For EACH book:
1. Summarize the plot.
2. Identify the major themes and explain how the themes are constructed. Remember, theme looks at the message of
a text more than the plot of a text.
3. Identify and describe the MAJOR characters.
4. Comment on anything you notice about the structure of the work or the writing style of the author. You may want
to mention the way the story is organized, if techniques like dialogue or dialect are used, etc.
5. Give a brief response stating your own reaction to the text. For example, did you like the book? Why or why
not? It is okay if you do not like the book; just make sure you can explain why you didn’t like it!
Please organize the assignment by book so that all five parts for each book are together and each part is labeled. With the
exception of the character sketches, which can be done as bullets, I expect all work to be in complete sentences. I prefer
the assignment to be typed, but if you do not have access to a computer, I will accept it hand written.
Each book will be worth 50 points, 10 points for each section. The entire summer reading assignment, then, will be worth
200 points. This will be due on the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, and it will count as a substantial portion of the first
marking period grade. This is an important piece of work for your first quarter grade and for your preparation for an AP
course. Please do not put it off until the last minute!
Optional: Vocabulary
Find this packet of vocabulary practice on my website: This is not graded work, but I
strongly suggest that you complete this work to prepare you for the rigor of AP reading and writing assignments. The
number one concern for students every year is the level of vocabulary they encounter on the AP exam. Our study of
vocabulary throughout the school year will include the words in this packet, but it will also introduce many, many more.
Completing the packet ahead of time will give you an advantage next year. I also encourage you to read for entertainment
this summer. Reading on your own is the best way to develop your vocabulary.
To contact me:
If you have any questions about the assignment or if you need to reach me over the summer, please contact me by email.
Though I probably will not check it every day over the summer, I will check it regularly. My email address is