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One School One Book

Summer Reading 2016 - One School, One Book!



Summer Reading Journal


Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok is the 2016 Summer Reading novel.


All Washington High School students are asked to complete a summer reading assignment.  How you will be assessed is at the discretion of next year’s English teacher; assessment may come in the form of a multiple choice or true/false quiz, short answer questions, journal assignment, and/or an essay. 


Although you are not required to do the journal assignment, most English teachers will acknowledge your work and give extra credit if you decide to do it.  When you return to school in August, you will turn in your reading journal, and you will be given an assessment on the two books you have read.  AP students should check in with next year’s AP teacher for specific summer reading titles and assignment. AP students are required to read two books and should attend the AP meeting; listen for announcements or check the WASH website. 



 This journal assignment is fostered to develop the analytical, reading, and writing skills you will need for college as well as for life in general.  The stronger a reader and writer you are, the better prepared you will be to pursue, to defend, and to voice your own beliefs, and the better prepared you will be to consider critically those of others. Moreover, reading quality literature allows for the exploration of various themes, perspectives, and experiences, and allows for a clearer sense of what constitutes good writing and good thinking.  For these reasons, we created the summer reading program to foster no only a milieu for quality reading over the summer months, but also a greater appreciation for the value of reading itself. 


Reading Journal:

Record your questions, observations, and interpretations as you read each novel.  Your comments should always be specific to the work.  That is, your journal is not a place for you to explore your own personal life (i.e. no autobiographical writing).  However, you will use your own experiences and collected knowledge to help you arrive at an understanding of the various elements in a work of literature.  Strong readers do this automatically, for this active reading allows you to review the work’s literal aspects (e.g. biographical facts on the author; historical facts pertinent to the work; lists of characters; setting; plot summary) as well as its more complex and figurative elements (e.g. themes; reasons for a character’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings; meaning of symbols and metaphors; irony; paradox; conflict; analytical questions and responses.)


Remember that reviewing the literal aspects of the novel is only to help you arrive at a more profound understanding of the various complex, figurative elements of the work.  Hence, your reading journal should be much less literal review, and much more interpretive reflection supported by specifics from the novel.  We study the works of these authors because they brilliantly and eloquently say what few of us have the talent to! Hence, give yourself the time to understand and to appreciate their artistry.  Otherwise, you will most likely interpret the work superficially.



Your journal should reflect the ongoing dialogue you have with your book.  Although you should get into the habit of writing every time you read, that is not necessary.  As a general rule of thumb, divide your novel into 15-20 sections.  Record a page or two of writing for each section.  Sprinkle your writing with specific references from the novels and remember to jot the page number for future reference.  Good analytical writing is peppered with quotes from the text.  Date your journal every time you write.


AP English Summer Reading 2016

Advanced Placement (AP®) English Language and Composition

Summer Reading 2016 for Rising Juniors



AP English Language and Composition is designed to challenge students beyond grade-level academic expectations in order to develop and affirm college-level reading, writing, and analytical skills. The College Board describes AP classes as “college in a high school setting,” and outlines the necessary skill set needed to take AP courses at


Reading critically will always be a fundamental aspect of any college-level course especially an English class where students closely examine the content, structure, and rhetorical components of effective narration, exposition, and persuasion in an ongoing effort to further their own analytical, reading, writing, and overall language skills.  Reading quality literature is also an exploration of themes, perspectives, and experiences affording moral, spiritual, and intellectual growth.  The stronger a reader and writer you are, the better prepared you will be to pursue, to defend, and to voice your own beliefs, and the better prepared you will be to consider critically and sensitively those of others.  For these reasons, the following list of six American literature titles has been created to foster not only a milieu for quality reading over the summer months, but also a greater appreciation in you for the artistry of good writing. 


You are required to read two out of the titles listed below and to keep a critical reading journal for each as you read (instructions follow). 


Critical Reading Journal

Purchase a college-ruled composition book and divide it into two separate sections—one for each of the two novels.  Crease the first page of each section to create a title page and write the title of the book and the author’s name.  Later illustrate/design this title page in a meaningful manner capturing the spirit/main theme of the novel. 


After each title page, create an author page headed with the author’s name and years of her/his life followed by a bulleted list of important biographical facts that include major literary works and publishing year and any prestigious literary accolades the author was awarded (e.g. Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Pen/Faulkner Award, Nobel Prize in Literature)—cite year and reason for award.


After the title and author page, keep record of your thoughts on specific aspects of the novel as you read.  The purpose of the journal is to engage you actively with the reading, so you arrive at a more profound understanding of the reading.  Hence, your entries should not be plot summary (i.e. retelling of the plot), but rather critical entries that follow the order of your reading.  Examples of what you can record in your journal include:


  • Explaining a significant or powerful direct quotation/passage (cite page).  (Direct quotations or paraphrasing a specific part of the story should not be longer than about three lines—use ellipsis at the end to indicate the continuation of a direct quotation.)


  • Evaluating literary components of the author’s writing (e.g. style, structure, point-of-view, figurative language, themes, imagery).


  • Listing character names and descriptions that allow you to keep track of who is who.


  • Creating graphic organizers that structure components from the novel in a meaningful way to help you organize and develop your thoughts further (e.g. cause>effect chain, character web, theme web, imagery web, compare/contrast Venn diagram or two-column chart with common points of reference, sequence of events chart or chain).


  • Predicting what might happen next at a key point in the plot based on what you know so far.


  • Analyzing a character based on evidence from the text.


  • Connecting elements from the story to arrive at an interpretation/inference.


  • Relating key aspects of the novel to real world issues and/or common human experience.


  • Clarifying something that confuses you or that you don’t know such as a word or an allusion.


  • Questioning that helps you explore further meaning (e.g. reflective, interpretive, or clarifying questions).


  • Producing a creative response (e.g. different ending to a key chapter, a poem/song related to a theme/character/event, story board illustration, drawing, collage).


Your reading journal will be due the first week of school, and will be included in the first marking period grade.  Academic honesty (i.e. not plagiarizing or reading Cliff Notes/Spark Notes rather than the book) is a fundamental component of your education and your grade. 


Age Old Question

How much do I have to do in my reading journal?  Quality is more important than quantity.  However, you have to have a certain amount of written reflection to arrive at quality thinking and reflection.


If you turn in pages of plot summary, you will receive a poor grade because all you have done is retell the story rather than find complex, underlying meaning in the story.  Hence, honestly do your best, and allow yourself the time to think, reflect, and explore various possible ways of understanding the story. 




Sula, Toni Morrison


Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok (Washington’s summer reading book)


Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison


Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson


Typical American, Gish Jen


The Awakening, Kate Chopin


As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner



Happy reading!!!