Purpose: As a student enrolled in an Honors-level English class, you will be expected to do some reading over the summer. Don’t use Cliff’s Notes or SparkNotes or any such thing. Just read the books and respond to them according to your own understanding. You will read a novel as well as a biography or autobiography.
Disclaimer: Young Adult titles often cover mature subject matter and may include strong language. Parents should review all titles to determine if the book seems appropriate for their student reader. You can find information about most titles on the following websites:
Suggested titles: These ARE NOT required. We are merely providing some titles that may be of interest or are very important novels that a well-read scholar would know.
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Old Man and the Sea
Lord of the Flies
House on Mango Street
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Red Pony
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
The Poisonwood Bible
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Much Ado About Nothing
The Prince and the Pauper
Life of Pi
Water for Elephants
The Time Machine
The Secret Life of Bees
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Maze Runner
Requirement #1- A Novel of Choice
It is our deeply held belief that academic and personal advancement through reading is to be encouraged throughout the calendar year, not just the school year. All credit-earning English One students will select and read a novel of their own choosing. Students are free to choose any age-appropriate work they wish while 2019 Junior Book Award Winners are encouraged. English One students should choose a book that is not only thematically appealing but challenging as well. Students are encouraged to involve their parents with the selection of the book and discuss it with them throughout their reading.
Assignment for Novel of Choice: Book Review (Examples and Writing Tips)
You will write a book review for the novel of choice. The book review should be about one page in length and meet the following criteria:
- Describe the setting of the book. A book’s setting is one of its most vital components. Does the author make you feel like you’re a part of the setting? Can you picture the book’s setting if you close your eyes? As you write, try to pass on to your reader the sense of the setting and place that the author has provided.
- Describe the book’s main characters. Does the writer make you believe in them as people? Why or why not? Think about whether you like the characters and about how liking them or disliking them makes you feel about the book. As you write about the characters, use examples of things they’ve said or done to give a sense of their personalities.
- Give your reader a taste of the plot, but don’t give the surprises away. Readers want to know enough about what happens in a book to know whether they’ll find it interesting. But they never want to know the ending! Summarize the plot in a way that will answer some questions about the book, but leave other questions in the reader’s mind. You may want to make a list of questions about the book before you begin.
- Be sure to proofread for grammar mistakes and edit for clarity.
Writing Tips: Use these suggestions to guide you before, during, and after the writing process.
- Before you begin writing, make a few notes about the points you want to get across.
- While you’re writing, try thinking of your reader as a friend to whom you’re telling a story.
- Mention the name of the author and the book title in the first paragraph.
- Try to get the main theme of the book across in the beginning of your review. Your reader should know right away what he or she is getting into should they choose to read the book!
- Think about whether the book is part of a genre. Does the book fit into a type like mystery, adventure, or romance? What aspects of the genre does it use?
- What do you like or dislike about the book’s writing style? Is it funny? Does it give you a sense of the place it’s set? What is the author’s/narrator’s “voice” like?
- Make sure your review explains how you feel about the book and why, not just what the book is about. A good review should express the reviewer’s opinion and persuade the reader to share it, to read the book, or to avoid reading it.
Requirement #2 – An Autobiography or Biography of Choice
Although it may be tempting to read a short, easy book about somebody like a pro athlete or celebrity you like, these choices will not accomplish the same as better, more serious books. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring! There are many excellent, fascinating, exciting, inspiring, or beautiful books about all kinds of interesting people. You may not even know who the person is before reading the book; you may be surprised. Try an athlete or entertainer from the past, or try reading about someone you’ve heard of but never knew much about, or try a person whose life is the most different from yours. While the books don’t have to be long or difficult, you should follow these requirements to ensure you choose something challenging. Select a book that is not written obviously for kids and is at least about 150 pages. Biographies and autobiographies are usually shelved together in the library, and organized by the last name of the person they’re about.
Assignment for Autobiography or Biography of Choice: T-CHART
Make a chart for your biography. This chart may end up being used throughout the course when studying other texts. You may use notebook paper & pencil, or you may type it —whatever is most convenient for you. Just be sure it is your own work.
As you read your biography/autobiography and prepare your chart, you should take notes using Cornell notes or a similar two-column format: (Template)
On the left write down specific quotes, images, turning points from his/her life, etc., from the book, along with the page number; on the right write down your response to each of those items—perhaps a question (“Why did she do that? Doesn’t she know who he is?”), perhaps a statement of your understanding (“I’m confused; I thought she despised him.”), perhaps a prediction (“I bet she is going to react violently to that!”), perhaps an insight about the person (“It really wasn’t her fault; he overreacted.”), or even a comment about the author’s style (“What a beautiful image!”).
You may not necessarily include every one of these things. You must include some instances & comments about historical facts you are learning. These facts should help establish the historical context of your figure (the world he/she inhabited) including, but not limited to: where, when and the subject’s place in that world. The chart should also include any major accomplishments or defeats suffered by the subject and how such affected his/her larger life. The chart should have at least one entry per chapter, but no fewer than 10 entries in total.
Both Assignments are Due Tuesday, August 27, 2019!