Date: May 24, 2012
To: AP English Language and Composition students
From: Ms. Hildbold & Ms. Cox
Re: Course introduction & Summer reading suggestions 2012-2013
We look forward to meeting all of you on the first day of class! The course is officially called “AP English Language and Composition.” As you know this is a rigorous writing course but also a highly valuable class that will give you much practice to prepare you for college writing.
AP Lang is a composition course that focuses on the devices, choices, and strategies of non-fiction writers. The work we do in class will make you better readers and writers and will enhance your enjoyment as you read.
Why AP Language and Composition
Consider these student characteristics and our expectations as you commit to this class:
· Intellectual curiosity
· A desire to read nonfiction pieces
· A desire to write every day and improve your writing
· A desire to work hard in an accelerated class
This is a course about examining your own ideas and beliefs and then learning to write about them with power and grace. You have spent a significant amount of time in school learning how to write, how to achieve clarity, and how to be organized. Now, you are ready to make your writing compelling. Throughout your life you will need to write and speak to motivate people, and to get others excited about your ideas. To learn to do this we will examine current and historical nonfiction pieces. As a class we will pull apart powerful essays to discover exactly how professional writers move us to action and to emotion.
The majority of the reading in this course can be considered “creative” or “literary” nonfiction. You will find most of the reading compelling. We generally work with short essays which address current topics. You will read across genres examining global and national issues. This course exposes you to a wide range of topics and writing methods and styles. It is enormously helpful as you head to college and tackle increasingly difficult texts.
To prepare for the course, read often and pay attention to current and controversial issues. Check out the editorial pages of leading national newspapers and magazines. This course will ask you to become part of an on-going conversation examining who we are as a society. In what direction will the thinkers and writers of your generation take us?
Summer Assignment - due 3rd week after class has started
Focus: Critical Thinking Critical Reading, Critical Writing
In an effort to get a good start on the nature of the class, particularly with regard to reading, we are asking you to read a non-fiction work of your choice. This assignment will be due at the end of the first half of Quarter one. You may choose to do the reading this summer and the writing once school has started. That will give you time to get any questions answered. Alternatively, you may wish to read the book and draft out the written assignment this summer—your choice.
Select a non-fiction book from the attached list.
1. Divide the book roughly into thirds.
2. For each third, provide a summary of fewer than 100 words, selecting only those critical details that will help a reader of your paper become familiar with the intent and scope of the book.
3. Also, for each third, select 5-7 quotes or passages that address the following concerns about the book:
First Third: How is the author engaging you so that you keep reading? What is the author’s stated or unstated agenda or purpose? Stories, facts, statistics, and appeals to emotion, are all common methods the author may use. Identify passages/quotes that exemplify your statements.
Middle Third: How is the author sustaining your interest in the topic? Is the author building a case? If so, how? Do you notice a variety of “appeals” to the reader such as facts and statistics, anecdotes, emotional appeals to influence you? How does the author develop his or her thesis or argument?
Final Third: What does the author want you to think or do after reading this book? Do you get a sense that the author has a clear agenda in terms of changing your opinion?
· For whom is the intended audience of this work?
· What were the cultural, political and social circumstances at the time of the book’s publication? Elaborate with detail.
· How did the author’s biographical and educational background lead him/her to writing this book?
· Throughout your reading, we have urged you to consider this: What entails good writing? Have you arrived at conclusions to this question?
Enjoy your summer. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have. We look forward to seeing you in August, well-rested and ready to go!
The AP Lang Team
Do some online research to learn more about these books (Amazon.com is a good place to start), and choose one to read. You can find these titles on Amazon new or used. Most titles are available in local libraries as well.
Freakonomics (Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner)
Mountains Beyond Mountains (Kidder)
Stiff: The Curious Life of Cadavers (Roach)
The Glass Castle (Walls)
The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Pollan)
Inside of a Dog (Horowitz)
Eating Animals (Foer)
Free Will (Sam Harris)
Bright-Sided (Barbara Ehrenreich)
Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer)
Into the Wild (Jon Krakauer)
Complications (Atul Gawande)
Enrique’s Journey (Sonia Nazario)
The Devil’s Highway (Luis Alberto Urrea)
Moneyball (Michael Lewis)
The Blindside (Michael Lewis)
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Anne Fadiman)
Newjack (Ted Conover)
Nine Parts of Desire (Geraldine Brooks)
The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet…and How We Can Make it Better (Annie Leonard)