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AP Literature Summer Reading Assignment


Incoming AP Literature students are required to read over the summer in preparation for the course and subsequent AP exam. One portion of the AP exam, the Free Response essay, demands that students have a wide range of challenging literary works on which they can draw when writing that essay. The goal of this summer’s reading, however, is not to prepare you for the exam but to initiate you into the conversation about ideas through books by both contemporary and classic authors.

AP Literature is college literature; it not simply preparation for college. If you are looking for ways around this reading assignment, you should not enroll in this class.

Students who do not complete the summer reading—all of it, as spelled out by these guidelineswill not be eligible to take the course.

If you have any questions, write to me at

Choose from one of the novels below and complete a dialectical journal:

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Great Expectations by Charles Dickens The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Road by Cormac McCarthy The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Beowulf Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros The Waves by Virginia Woolf The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak Obasan by Joy Kagawa The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid The Fall by Albert Camus Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Dialectical Reader-Response Journal

As you read, keep a reading log in which you discuss the ideas in the selected work. In this way you will begin to connect these ideas to your own experience. As you reflect and question, listen carefully to your thoughts and attempt to describe the effect the book is having on you. Write honestly, respond deeply, admit confusion, expand on author’s ideas, and attempt to discover your own.

Directions 1. Divide your paper into two columns.

  • 2. In the left-hand column, write the chapter number(s) or the page number(s)

covered and a summary of the action or ideas expressed.

  • 3. In the right-hand column, write your personal response to what you have read (at

least 5 entries). Think out loud on your paper. Many of your comments in the right-

hand column may be sentences or phrases, but some of them should be paragraphs demonstrating your thoughtful consideration of the work. You may find it helpful to use any of the following sentence openers as a way of beginning your personal responses in the right hand column:

Directions 1. Divide your paper into two columns. 2. In the left -hand column, write the
Directions 1. Divide your paper into two columns. 2. In the left -hand column, write the