Ap english Summer Reading

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AP English Summer Reading

Mrs. Long karen.long@trimble.kyschools.us

EnglishAPsummer.blogspot.com (make sure the “E” “A” and “P” are all capitalized)

Three required readings:

  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster ISBN 978-0-06-00942-7 (This can be purchased at any bookstore.)

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

  • Choose any novel Thomas Foster refers to in his book that interests you. You may want to check the appendix in the back of his book. Make sure it is a book and not a short story or poem. ( I would suggest To Kill A Mockingbird. I will refer to it many times during the course.


#1 Read the Foster book first and complete the questions for each chapter (attached). These responses should be written in a composition notebook and be at least 100 words each. This is due on the first day of school, but it should be the first book you read since the other assignments will refer to this book. You can complete the questions throughout the summer as you refer back to the book.
#2 - Select a novel of literary merit that Foster has mentioned in his book or a book you have read in a past high school English class. (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlett Letter…) Read or reread it during the month of June. Write an informal essay that analyzes how Foster’s book influenced how you read or reread the book. Email the essay to me on/or before July 5.
#3 - Read A Tale of Two Cities - This is a challenging book. Make sure you check out our blog for historical background. Read this during the month of July. As you read this book, try to continue to remember the things Foster has pointed out in his book. Make sure you email me if you have any questions or post on the blog.

Choose one of the following essays to submit by August 1 by email. This essay should follow MLA format. Be sure to quote and document. A paper is only as strong as its thesis. One lesson I want you to learn about writing is that good writers quote, bad writers summarize.

Option A- Use the process described on page 106 of Foster’s book and investigate the use of symbols in A Tale of Two Cities.

Option B - Use Chapter 10 and discuss the importance of weather in the novel.

Option C- Identify two characters who serve as foils and discuss how they help to develop the other character as well as the theme of the novel.

Option D - Use chapter 14 of Foster’s book and discuss the character who is a Christ figure.

Option E - Research some information about the French Revolution. Analyze the political statement Dickens may have been making through the characters, plot, and/or theme of A Tale of Two Cities ( review Chapter 13 of Foster’s book).
#4 - Blogging - During the summer I expect you to log in and post to the blog. Please make it a habit to check the blog two or three times a week. I will pose questions and post information that will help you as you work on the reading for that time. Literature comes to life when it is discussed. Please get involved in the blog. Make sure you include you name at the end of each post. This is an invitation only blog. You will not have to worry about outsiders participating.

Composition Notebook: Due first day of school: 250 daily points ( each chapter’s response is worth 10 points)

Essay #1 - 50 daily points - I will be looking to see how well you can analyze and internalize some of the ideas presented in the Foster book. This essay will also give me a first impression of your writing strengths.

Essay #2 - 100 test points - This essay will be scored based on the AP English Literature Scoring rubric that is attached.

Blogging - This will be a 100 point daily grade. See the attached rubric for scoring information.

Questions for How to Read Literature Like a Professor

( adapted from Donna Anglin and other AP English teachers)

Introduction: How’d He Do That?

What have you learned about how symbol, memory and pattern affect the reading of literature?

Chapter 1 - Every Trip is a Quest

List the five aspects of the quest and give examples from a story or stories you have read.

Chapter 2 - Nice to Eat With You

List the things Foster says eating can represent and share examples from movies or books you have watched or read.

Chapter 3 - Nice to Eat You

Not every story has a vampire or ghost as its protagonist, but Foster says that their presence in a story can be representative. Discuss this and share examples to prove your points.

Chapter 4 - If It’s Square, It’s a Sonnet

Why is it more difficult to write a short poem rather than a long one?

Chapter 5 - Now Where Have I Seen Her Before?

What is the sentence that is written in bold in this chapter? Explain what that means after also reading pages 185-192.

Chapter 6 - When in Doubt, It’s from Shakespeare

Why do so many authors use and quote Shakespeare?

Chapter 7 - …Or the Bible

What do Biblical allusions do for a piece of literature? How comfortable do you feel with your ability to recognize Biblical allusions?

Chapter 8 Hanseldee and Greteldum

On page 59, what does Foster suggest as a reason so many writers choose to allude to fairy tales. Which of the tales on page 293 can you retell accurately? Explain or discuss.

Chapter 9 It’s Greek to Me

What are the four great struggles of the human being? Identify some examples from movies or literature.

Chapter 10 It’s More than Just Rain or Snow

What did you learn about weather and literature in this chapter?

Chapter 11 -

Give examples of two kinds of violence found in literature. How are the effects different?

Chapter 12 - Is that a Symbol

Explain a novel or movie where you understood the symbols. Why did you understand or recognize them?

Chapter 13 - It’s all Political

What is Foster’s option about why all literature is political? Summarize his argument from page 115.

Chapter 14 - Yes, She’s a Christ Figure, Too

Look over the Movies to Read on page 293. Select one of those and identify a Christ-figure in the movie and explain why.

Chapter 15 - Flights of Fancy

Does a character always need to fly in order to be “flying” in literature? Explain what synonyms can replace “fly”.

Skip Chapter 16 and 17. We are not going to address these in our high school literature class, nor will it be tested on the AP exam. This is a college-level topic that I do not feel comfortable discussing in a high school setting.

Chapter 18 - If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism

What are some things baptism and drowning can mean in literature?

Chapter 19 - Geography Matters

List four examples of “geography” and what it can represent in literature.

Chapter 20...So Does Season

Explain what the four seasons can represent or suggest in literature.

Chapter 21 - Marked for Greatness

Think of a character who fits into this category and explain why the author chose to give this physical trait to the character

Chapter 22 - He’s Blind for a Reason

Why do authors make a character blind? Give an example.

Chapter 23 and 24 - It’s Never Just Heart Disease… and Rarely Just Illness

What can “heart disease signify in literature? What are the rules for using diseases in literature?

Chapter 25 - Don’t Read with Your Eyes

What is Foster’s point in this chapter?

Chapter 26- Is He Serious? And Other Ironies

What does Foster mean when he says “irony trumps everything”? Give an example

Chapter 27 A Test Case

Read the story and complete the exercises on pages 265-266. Make sure you follow the directions exactly. Then compare your writing with the three examples. How did you do? What does the essay that follows comparing Laura and Persephone add to your appreciation of the story?


Explain the term motif and provide examples.

Blogging Scoring Guide

(Discussion Board Forum)


A (5)


B (4)


C (3)


Below (1) Expectations

Critical Thinking

Full of thought, insight, analysis or desire to understand and/or explain

Thought, insight or analysis is seen in the posts

Comments are thin or commonplace

Superficial; no analysis or insight


Clear connections to real-life and/or previous and current content

Connections are made

Limited if any connections, vague generalities

No connections made or posts are off topic


New ideas made with depth and detail

New ideas but may not have depth or detail

Few, if any, new ideas - simply rehashes or summarizes postings

Never any fresh ideas - lots of “I agree with…” statements

Time investment

Post early in discussions and throughout discussions. Shows strong participation in discussions.

Makes visits to blog - shows participation/ involvement in discussions

Logs in about once a week and makes a post to complete the task.

Rarely devotes much time to any of the discussions


Never any major grammar errors and no text lingo used

Only an occasional grammar error

Responses are very informal and often error-filled

Posts are nearly impossible to read because of poor grammatical constuctions

* Notice that I did not give you a specific number of posts you had to make. This is not a “quota-meeting” assignment. This is a chance for us to discuss and comment with each other. This is something we will do on a daily basis once class starts.

25/25= 100

Score:___________/25 Percentage: _______%

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