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Summer 2011 Assignment

Page history last edited by Russell 9 years, 11 months ago


MSWord .doc download: SummerAssignment.doc

AP Language and Composition

Summer Reading and Writing    


Russell Rice: rrice@steilacoom.k12.wa.us or mr.russell.rice@gmail.com  

Web site: http://mrrice.pbworks.com


General comment about the course


The variety of texts in the course will include speeches, novels, historical documents, diaries, memoirs, essays, editorials, cartoons, advertisements (from various media), and films. Many texts are chosen to complement the student’s study of United States History in order to build interdisciplinary connections.


Concise summer “to do” list for AP Language and Composition:

  1.  ___ Buy two spiral journals
  2.  ___ Buy Creating America: Reading and Writing Arguments
  3.  ___ Buy The Art of Styling Sentences
  4.  ___ Select and buy a copy of a “task one” text (Rice’s suggestion: read a couple from the library then buy one you prefer)
  5.  ___ Journal responses to a “task one” text
  6.  ___ Responses to three-five “task two” editorials/opinions


You need to purchase:

  1. Two spiral journal notebooks for summer notes
  2. Moser, Joyce P., Watters, Ann. Creating America: Reading and Writing Arguments. Fourth Edition 2004, Prentice Hall. (Try Amazon – lots of used copies cheap! Try to get one without highlighting/notes.)
  3. Sullivan, K.D., Longknife, Ann. The Art of Styling Sentences. Fourth Edition 2001, Barron’s Educational Series.
  4. One of the texts from the list under “task one” below (so you can write in it)



Task one: Choose, purchase, and read one of the following books to suit your own interests and/or complement another course you are taking next year. There are over twenty options, so browse the summaries and reader reviews on Amazon if you are unsure what might engage you. Check out one or two from the library before making a purchase decision. Note: I don’t expect you to finish reading this book before school starts. However, I do expect you to finish it shortly thereafter! You will be working with it during the year.


  • ·         Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World (Greg Critser)
  • ·         Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner)
  • ·         Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter (Stephen Johnson)
  • ·         Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (Barbara Ehrenreich)
  • ·         Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty (Muhammad Yunus)
  • ·         The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman)
  • ·         The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith (Irshad Manji)
  • ·         The World Without Us (Alan Weisman)
  • ·         The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (Michael Pollan)
  • ·         The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan)
  • ·         The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science (Natalie Angier)
  • ·         The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Naomi Klein)
  • ·         Fifteen Days: Stories of Friendship, Bravery, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army (Christie Blatchford)
  • ·         The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (Simon Winchester)
  • ·         28: Stories of AIDS in Africa (Stephanie Nolen)
  • ·         Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (Jared Diamond)
  • ·         The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World (Tim Hartford)
  • ·         Generation RX: How Prescription Drugs Are Altering American Lives, Minds, and Bodies (Greg Critser)
  • ·         Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (James Loewen)
  • ·         The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (Lewis Hyde)
  • ·         Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation (Jonothan Kozol)
  • ·         The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime (Miles Harvey)


In a reading journal (like a spiral notebook) make note of “Aha!” moments as you read. You might notice something that is completely new, and it’s worth noting. The text may confirm something you already think and believe, and it’s worth noting. The text might give a particularly interesting example to help support a point, and it’s worth noting. Basically, read and relax, but make casual notes as you come across notable items. For each:


  1. Page number
  2. Chapter title or number
  3. Topic-at-hand (an overview of what the author is discussing)
  4. The notable item
  5. Why you think it’s notable (What’s interesting about this?)


Task two: Read three to five magazine, newspaper, or blog opinions/editorials/commentaries/essays. In a journal like the one for the book selection in task one, read, clip, and paste (yes, physically) three to five opinions/editorials/ commentaries/essays (not news articles or informational features) from reputable newspapers or issue-based magazines. You should mix and match so as to obtain exposure to a range of topics, styles, and opinions. AND try to find at least one that connects in some way to the book you select for task one.


  • ·         The Globe and Mail (Canadian newspaper)
  • ·         The National Post (Canadian newspaper)
  • ·         The New York Times (US newspaper)
  • ·         The Washington Post (US newspaper)
  • ·         The Times of London (UK newspaper)
  • ·         The Daily Telegraph (UK newspaper)
  • ·         The Guardian (UK newspaper)
  • ·         Maclean’s (Canadian news magazine)
  • ·         The Huffington Post (online blog)
  • ·         The Daily Beast (online blog)
  • ·         The Economist (UK news magazine)
  • ·         Time (US news magazine)
  • ·         Newsweek (US news magazine)
  • ·         The New Republic (US political magazine)
  • ·         National Review (US political magazine)
  • ·         The Weekly Standard (US political magazine)
  • ·         American Spectator (US political magazine)
  • ·         The New Yorker (US ideas magazine)
  • ·         Atlantic Monthly (US ideas magazine)
  • ·         Harper’s (US ideas magazine)
  • ·         Mother Jones (US ideas magazine)
  • ·          (online ideas magazine)
  • ·          (online ideas magazine)
  • ·         Arts and Letters Daily (an online compilation of items from around the English-speaking world)


Examples of newspapers/magazines that are not recommended:

  • ·         TMZ (online blog)
  • ·         USA Today (newspaper)


Then, handwriting your responses in your journal, comment on the aspects of each of the editorials that made you think, and your thoughts about the editorial or the issues – one response per editorial. There is no guideline as to length, but your responses should be thoughtful and detailed.

Some questions you might want to think about/comment on:


  • ·         Do you agree or disagree with the editorial’s viewpoints? Why?
  • ·         Did the editorial make you want to know more about the issue?
  • ·         What are some of the author’s best arguments? What makes them good?
  • ·         Which arguments or points made by the author do not make sense to you and why?
  • ·         How does this editorial connect with other knowledge that you have from other sources?
  • ·         Anything else this editorial makes you think about…


This assignment is a variation on multiple summer assignments. Originators include Jodi Rice and other AP teachers.

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