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Rising Senior AP English Summer Reading Assignments

Dear AP Literature Students,

We are really excited to have you in the AP program next fall!  Listed below are tasks that you need to complete over the summer in order to get off to a great start next September.   All of the information you need is provided in this packet.   Please read this packet carefully.  You must be prepared on the first day of school

  1. You are required to read the three books listed below.  Expect assessments of some kind for each when you return to school.    Not only should you be familiar with the plot, but you must be ready to apply major concepts of How to Read Literature to the other works of fiction.  You should take notes and use post-its as you read each work.
  2. Thomas Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  3. Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
  4. “One Book Theme” – pick one book – see district website for selections.


  1. College Essay. You will write a college essay based on the Common Application expectations.  The Common Application prompts and rubric are included here.  You must have a hard copy on the first day of class. The essay should be submitted in MLA format.


  1. Literature Terms. You will be expected to know the definitions of the attached terms as they apply to literary analysis.  For each term on the attached list, you are to create a notecard with the term on one side and the definition and an example on the other side.  Be prepared for a test when you return to school.


  1. Annotations. Read and annotate the five attached poems. For each poem you should have distinct notes explaining how specific phrases or lines are meaningful.   Be prepared to discuss the main ideas and themes of the poems during class discussion.   Your experience in our English program should have you equipped to recognize the major tools that the writers use to express ideas.  (See attached suggestions on how to annotate).  No research please!  You must rely on your own skills and body of knowledge.

Have a safe and happy summer!  Please do not hesitate to e-mail us if you have any questions and/or concerns.


Mrs. Wolfson ( and  Mrs. Hoy (





2019-2020 Common Application Essay Prompts – Choose one, and write a 650 word maximum essay.

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

  1. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

College Application Essay Rubric- 30 points








The essay is focused and reveals important personal characteristics or beliefs which would significantly supplement, not merely repeat, information in your application.  The essay shows originality and depth. (17-18 points)

The essay has a clear beginning, middle, and end.  It is developed with originality and attention to proportion and emphasis.  The paragraphs are logically and effectively developed.  The transitions between paragraphs are effective. (6 points)

The sentences are skillfully constructed, effective, and varied.  Words used are vivid, accurate, and original.  The writing is flawless or nearly so.  A personal style is apparent. (6 points)








The essay is somewhat focused and reveals personal characteristics or beliefs which would supplement, not merely repeat, information in your application.  The originality may be lacking in that you select an overused topic. (11-16 points)

The plan of development is apparent but not consistently followed.  Most paragraphs are generally effective, but some lack focus. Transitions may be weak or mechanical. (4-5 points) 

Most sentences are correctly constructed but need more distinction or style.  There may be some wordy/awkward phrases or lapses in usage, grammar, punctuation, or spelling.  (4-5 points)






The essay lacks focus or does not reveal personal characteristics or beliefs which would positively supplement your application.  The essay topic may be inappropriate. (0-10 points)

The plan and purpose of the essay are not apparent.  It is developed with some irrelevance or redundancy.  Most paragraphs are incoherent, undeveloped, or unorganized.  Transitions are weak or missing. (0-3 points)

Many sentences are poorly constructed and include many errors in grammar.  The vocabulary is basic, and words may be used incorrectly.  There are persistent usage, spelling, or punctuation problems. (0-3 points)


TERMS- You must create a 3x5 note card for each of the following literary terms. Include the definition and an example.


1st person POV

3rd person omniscient POV

3rd person limited POV



















dramatic irony




Figurative language



























situational irony








verbal irony



Annotating Poetry


Annotating is the act of marking up a text to bring attention to words,

phrases, and structure that may have some importance to the overall mood or theme of a poem.


Steps to Annotate a Poem


  1. Initial reading of the poem. Write any questions that pop into your head while doing the initial


  1. Identify any words that you do not understand and look them up. Write the definitions on the


  1. Identify figurative language used within the poem. Think about the literal meaning of each figurative Figurative language includes symbols, metaphors, similes, hyperbole, allusions, and personification.


  1. Identify sound devices such as rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance, and consonance. How does it impact the text?


  1. Identify text that is repeated. Is there any reason the author would repeat the text?


  1. Look closely at punctuation. Does it reveal anything about the speaker of the poem? (Example: Does it make them seem rambling, confident, or nervous?)


  1. Circle any words that are impactful or interesting. Determine connotative meaning. Are there any patterns? What does it reveal about the speaker’s attitude towards the topic?


  1. Reread the poem. If you are still having a hard time understanding the

            poem, repeat the annotation process!






Questions you should be able to answer after annotating a



  1. What is the theme of the poem?



  1. What kind of strategies does the author use to point out the theme?



  1. What is the mood of the poem? What is the speaker’s tone?



  1. What kind of strategies does the author use to make the mood clear?



  1. How does the figurative language impact the poem as a whole?



  1. How does the structure, including punctuation, stanza length, line length, and rhyme scheme impact the poem as a whole?