Summer Reading Assignment


Students are always asking what they can do to prepare for success in AP Literature. Here, stolen word for word from the fabulous Kylene Beers, who is an expert in adolescent reading and has an amazing website here, is what you should be reading this summer.

  • All the books (and I mean all the books) you really want to read.
  • Any of the books that your friend wants you to read and once you start you actually like.
  • One (or more if you choose) of the books your mom/dad/grandparent/teacher/or any other person who looks a lot older than you promises you will love if once you start it you do indeed discover you do love it.
  • Something you think looks hard. You’ll discover if you really want to read it, it won’t actually be that hard.
  • An author or topic you haven’t read before. You might discover a new topic or author you really like!
  • Joke books. They will keep you laughing (and make your parents nuts). Be sure to tell the corniest jokes during dinner.
  • And then you simply must finish the summer with more of what you want to read.

If you’re looking for a more focused way to prepare for AP Literature, fetch yourself a copy of Thomas Foster’s fabulous book How to Read Literature Like a Professor. Choose a favorite novel—preferably a classic one, since they have the most “meat” to work with—and read it along with Foster’s guide. You’d be surprised how much is hiding in the straw alongside Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web, walking the streets of Maycomb with Scout Finch, fizzing with the champagne at one of Gatsby’s parties, or even pacing the battlements of Macbeth’s castle. Attentive, careful reading always reveals more than the plot and characters do at your first encounter. Foster’s book can help you spot those gems more readily.

Stuck on what to read? Check out the links to the right for the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge or the 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime for suggestions. Have a great summer, and happy reading!

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