Advanced Placement Language and Composition

Summer Reading 2016-2017

Welcome to Advanced Placement Language and Composition! This class will expand your academic horizons and prepare you for the challenge of the Advanced Placement Language and Composition test that will be given next May. This AP course is dedicated to the

study of non-fiction, composition, and rhetoric. In general, we will learn to analyze texts, write arguments, and synthesize multiple texts.

Of course, good writing starts with good reading, so the summer reading exercises will require you to read critically and do some accompanying writing that prepares you for the first things we’ll do in class. This summer assignment is NOT the “first unit” of the school year; it is a “running start” into the school year. The purpose of this summer assignment is so that you will be aware of and proficient in a few things before you get here so we can refer to these activities as we introduce more in-depth study of analysis, argument, synthesis, and critical reading.

Read: Essays

Philip Lopate- “On the Necessity of Turning Oneself into a Character

Reid Hoffman- “Shape Your Identity or it Will Shape You

Vladimir Nabakov- “Good Readers and Good Writers

For each essay:

Read thoughtfully and annotate as you read through the essays. You are welcome to annotate in any way you wish or know is effective. Begin by identifying the main arguments and claims the writer makes. Here are some ideas that would be important for annotations.

What do you know about the speaker based on what you read?

How does the speaker organize the essay?

Who would be the intended audience for this essay?

Why did the writer write this essay? What purpose does it serve?

What particular strategies do you note the writer using to accomplish this purpose?

What is the writer’s tone? Does it shift?

*Note that you are not required simply to record answers to these questions “a la worksheet”; instead, you should integrate such consideration and notation into the annotations you make as you read.

Read: Book-length memoir

Choose a memoir text to read. There are many lists online to help you choose. Use Goodreads to learn more about these texts and/or find others. I found a list of “best memoirs” on Goodreads.

For the memoir text:

As you read, it’s a good idea to mark important/interesting passages. I use post-it notes, and lots of them. When you finish your book, select the most powerful 3 passages, the ones that made you think and you probably re-read. Write a detailed paragraph about each, noting why that passage made an impact on you.

College Essays:

It’s time to think about college essays. First, go to the Common App website. Did you know that was a thing? Look around and if you have not created an account and want to, go ahead and do that. Next, Common App has a blog with the essay prompts. Check it out. Choose ONE of these to turn in during the first week of class. We will workshop these essays and get feedback. Think about what you want to write. Do some planning and brainstorming.

In summary:

Read, annotate, and respond to three articles.

Read and respond to a book length memoir.

Write at least one college essay.


Read lots! Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, digital, paper, doesn’t matter. Just read. Find 30 minutes in your day to read something. Write about what you read. Short responses are fine. Paper or digital. I will post interesting articles on my blog, but you are free to find what interests you.

I look forward to working with you all next year. Have a fantastic summer!