Summer Reading for AP English 12 — 2017 Edition

Posted: May 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

how to read lit like a professor

AP English 12 Summer Reading Assignment 2017

Summer Reading Assignment:

  1. Read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, OR The Road by Cormac McCarthy with a critical eye, annotate, and create an Major Works Data Sheet.
  2. Expect to write an essay during the first two weeks of school.
  3. Suggested: Read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster.  There are also some very helpful outlines of the book you might consult.    The patterns he outlines in the book will help you analyze your summer reading and the various texts we’ll read throughout the year AND help you assert the significance of your quotes on the MWDS.
  4. Suggested: Annotate your summer reading novel. We’ll be doing this sort of close reading throughout the year and starting with the summer reading is a great way to develop the skill of critical reading.

Click below for some tips on annotating

Still not sure about this whole annotating thing?  Here’s a brief guide:Annotating is simply thinking about and interacting with what you are reading.  Good readers have multiple lines of thought going at once – a line of thought that is reading and enjoying the language and the plot, and a line that is thinking about and analyzing what he or she is reading.  Just write some of that stuff down: fill the margins with what you are thinking, stars, questions, disagreements, underline quotes that seem important or thought provoking or simply sound good, etc.


  1. Have a purpose. Why are you reading this? What are you looking for?  You might have multiple purposes and they may change as you read, but having a purpose will help you pay attention and be critical of what you read.    For example,
  • You might notice something about the author’s style and mark every time you see an example of certain usage, sentence structure, motifs, allusions or other style elements.
  • You might have a hypothesis on a symbol or metaphor, so you underline and comment anywhere you see the symbol mentioned or areas that would support your argument.
  • You might track a certain theme and its development throughout the piece of writing.
  • You might think about prevalent literary elements you might analyze and find words and passages that create these elements.
  • You might think about the historical context of the novel and the social critique it seems to be purporting.
  • You might do several or all of these by the time you reach the end of the book (they’re long ones).
  1. Read everything –this seems redundant, but you will have a lot independent work in this course and you will need a positive work ethic. If you’re already skipping out on the reading, this may not be the right course.
  2. Mark it! – underline, write in the margins, etc.
  • Circle, underline, or use a sticky note for important ideas and quotes.
  • Mark repetitions. Mark repetitions.  (Writers choose words for a living, if they choose the same word, phrase, imagery, description, etc. twice, it’s for a reason)
  • Circle confusing words or phrases. Define from context or dictionary if possible.
  • Note passages that generate a strong response, positive or negative.
  • Write summaries of important or difficult passages.
  • Make connections – to things you’ve learned in other courses, to personal experience, to other works of literature, etc.
  1. Confused? Write questions.  Why does he keep talking about eyes?  Why does he keep calling the elevator a metal box?  Why such a preoccupation with people’s socks?  Why is Bob so concerned about an injured bird?  Why is Suzie never in the room as the same time as Bob?   
  2. You don’t have to fill every inch of white space or comment on every single page. You might hit a page or section in which you have several underlines and comments, then hit a dozen pages with nothing, and that’s fine.  When I grade annotations I just want to see that you read and interacted with the text.  Quality is better than quantity, but as far as quantity, as long as it averages out to at least something every couple pages –sometimes underlining, sometimes commentary, sometimes both – you’re fine.  Don’t forget your references to Foster should be clear enough for us to be able to flip through your book and find them on our own.

When you finish both books, you are a superstar and ready for AP 12!!!


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