Honors English II Summer Assignment

        Students who registered for Honors English II for next year should complete the following assignment, which is due to Mrs. Brixius or Mrs. Watkins on August 29th, REGARDLESS of which semester the student has the course. We want the students doing the work in the summer, not over Christmas break, or in the two or three days between semesters. We have set a hard date for the benefit of the students.

Choose one novel from the list below and complete a dialectical journal, the directions for which are included. The journal may be completed in a Word or Google Document, or in a spiral notebook.  You will also be asked to write an in-class essay about the novel, but directions about this assignment will be provided to you during the first day of class.

Your summer assignment will count as 20% of your first nine weeks’ grade.

If you have any questions, contact Maghen.brixius@caswell.k12.nc.us or deborah.watkins@caswell.k12.nc.us for help.

Guidelines for a Dialectical Journal

Dialectic means “the art or practice of arriving at the truth by using conversation involving question and answer.” The “dialectic” was the method Socrates used to teach his students how to be actively engaged in the struggle to obtain meaning from an unfamiliar and challenging work. A dialectical journal is a written conversation with yourself about a piece of literature that encourages the habit of reflective questioning. You will use a double-entry form to examine details of a passage and synthesize your understanding of the text.


(1) Purchase a spiral bound notebook or composition book (or set this up as a Google Document)

(2) Fold pages in half vertically or draw a vertical line down the middle of the page

(3) Label the top of each column: left TEXT and right RESPONSE

(4) In the TEXT column cite passages verbatim from the novel, including quotation marks and page numbers

a. Choose at least two passages from each chapter (if your novel is set up without chapters or with very small ones, a good rule of thumb is every 10-12 pages

b. When should you write passages down?

i. Details that seem important to you

 ii. You have an epiphany

iii. You learn something significant about a character

 iv. You recognize a pattern (overlapping images, repetitions of idea, details, etc.)

 v. You agree or disagree with something a character says or does

 vi. You find an interesting or potentially significant quotation

vii. You notice something important or relevant about the writer’s style

viii. You notice effective use of literary devices

(5) In the RESPONSE column reflect upon the passages

a. Raise questions about the beliefs and values implied in the text

 b. Give your personal reactions to the passage, the characters, the situation

c. Discuss the words, ideas, or actions of the author or character

d. Tell what it reminds you of from your own experiences

e. Compare the text to other characters or novels

f. Write about what it makes you think or feel

g. Argue with or speak to the characters or author

h. Make connections to any themes that are revealed to you

 i. Make connections among passages or sections of the work

j. Make predictions about characters’ futures


(6) Each RESPONSE must be at least 50 words (include word count at the end of each response)

 (7) Write down your thoughts, questions, insights, and ideas while you read or immediately after reading a chapter so the information is fresh

(8) As you take notes, you should regularly reread the previous pages of notes and comments

(9) First person is acceptable in the RESPONSE column.

(10)Remember that quotations do not have to be dialogue!

(11) If you are going to do this as a Google Document, enter the text and the response as soon as possible.

Sample Journal

Black Like Me by Howard Griffin



“The completeness of this transformation appalled me. It was unlike anything I had imagined. I became two men, the observing  one and the one who panicked, who felt negroid even into the depths of his entrails” (Griffin 11).

In many movies and books people wake up and realize how old they truly are. I think that the people this happens to feel the same as Mr. Griffin does because he feels that he is still a White man, but when he looks in the mirror he notices that his skin color disagrees with his thoughts. Likewise, some people feel they are still young, but are trapped in the body of a person who looks too old to be them. (81 words)

Note: Some of the novels have more mature themes and content than others and parents and students alike should take their time in choosing the novel. Our intention is for the student to choose a novel that is challenging, but also enjoyable. Students MAY NOT select a book that they have previously read.

Some of these are available online as a PDF file that you can download. Search the title plus “text,” and “pdf.” Once you download it (which will take data), you can read it offline. Do not pay to download; also, if you have a Caswell County library card you can access many of these books online by checking them out. Ask a librarian for help. Other libraries will have hard and online copies as well.

Lord of the Flies


Go Ask Alice


Uglies by Scott Westerfield

To Kill a Mockingbird


The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card


My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes


Paper Towns by John Green

1984 by George Orwell


A Separate Peace by John Knowles


The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Jubilee by Margaret Walker

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki and James D. Houston

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe


A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

Available from Coach Teets