Summer Reading for 2016-2017

Hello, all! I hope that you’ve enjoyed your first weeks of summer! I know you’re not ready to think about it yet, but it’s time to start preparing for the next school year.

We talked about Summer Reading during the week before Finals, but let me remind you about what we discussed. You can find the full details here or here on the MCPS website.

Basically, you’re going to read one of the 14 books that were on our Lit Circle list for 2015-2016. If you were in Regular English, you have already read 2 (or were supposed to read them!). If you were in Honors, you have read 3. That leaves 11 or 12 books to choose from. Here’s the list:

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X—Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)
  • The Bluest Eye—Toni Morrison
  • Catcher in the Rye—J.D. Salinger
  • Conversion—Katherine Howe
  • In Cold Blood—Truman Capote
  • A Lesson Before Dying—Ernest Gaines
  • Little Brother—Cory Doctorow
  • Looking for Alaska—John Green
  • Matched—Ally Condie
  • Of Mice and Men—John Steinbeck
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes—Chris Crutcher
  • The Things They Carried—Tim O’Brien
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God—Zora Neale Hurston
  • Uglies—Scott Westerfeld

These are great books! If you can’t remember which ones you read last year, I can help you with that–just email me. Please don’t wait until the first week in August to email about Summer Reading, though. That suggests a failure to plan and isn’t the best way to be successful. Some of these books are fairly short (The Bluest Eye, Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, and A Lesson Before Dying, for example). Some are longer but read pretty fast (Uglies, Little Brother, Conversion, for example). If you’re not sure which one might be a good fit for you, ask me! I’m happy to suggest one or another based on what I know about you and your interests. Just shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to answer.

So besides reading the book, what else do you have to do? Well, you for sure have to read the book. SparkNotes won’t be able to help you on this next part. (Some of you spend so much time and effort trying to avoid the reading, though–you’d be much better off to just do the reading and get it done! I promise that I picked good books!)

As you read the book, you’ll need to use post-it notes or those little sticky flag things (not an affiliate link–just a reference so that you can see what I’m talking about) to mark the Signposts. You should assign a different color to each of these:

  • Contrasts and Contradictions
  • Aha Moments
  • Tough Questions
  • Words from the Wiser
  • Again and Again
  • Memory Moments

You can go to this Prezi to remind yourself what to look for for each of those signposts. Again, this is something that we talked about together before Finals week. As you are reading, just keep those post-its or flags handy and stick them in where you see them. Then, when you’re done reading for the day, just take a couple of minutes to go back and jot down the page number and the Signpost that you saw when you were doing the reading. I want you to do it at the end of your reading session for the day because I don’t want you to spend much time on it and I don’t want you to interrupt your reading–that takes away from just enjoying the story. When we come back in the Fall (on Day 2 of class), instead of taking a multiple choice test on what you’ve read, I’m going to put you into Lit Circle groups with people in your class based on the books that you read and you’ll record a Lit Circle video based on some of those signposts that you all found. This will be a test grade, so it’s important that you prepare well during the summer. 🙂

If you have any questions, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help! Enjoy your summer!