AP Language and Composition
Summer Reading Assignment
Congratulations on your acceptance into AP Language and Composition! In part, the purpose
of the class is “to enable students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose
of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers.” The
focus of the class is primarily on the rhetorical strategies and techniques of writers. In order to
achieve that goal, this summer you will begin your journey of seeking to discover the mystery of
rhetoric. A close and active reading of all texts is essential to your success.
The assignments are due the first day of school. A student who fails to submit the summer
assignments will receive a grade no higher than a B for semester one. Students who are
enrolled, but come on or after the first day of school, should submit the work on that day.
Students who enroll after the semester begins will have 3 weeks to submit all assignments.
The course opens with discussion and work with the summer assignment. Students in AP
Language read a significant amount of non-fiction prose; therefore, summer reading selections
are non-fiction. This initial work will invite a fresh, analytical approach, one that will ask you to
move beyond immediate response to close reading and study of language.
Assignment 1. Written Commentary. Read Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. While reading,
keep track of five childhood events that have a great impact on his life. Describe each event and
comment briefly on how each one changes him. Write a commentary (in first person) of
approximately 3 pages in length in which you analyze the author’s style and discuss your
impression of the author (narrator). For style, consider the use of elements such as diction,
sentence structure, descriptive details, and method of organization. For your impression of the
person, consider personality, beliefs, as well as character traits. Include textual evidence to
support your statements. In addition, annotate the text by noting significant experiences,
observations, and reflections about the text. Think about noting things such as vocabulary and
passages that are not immediately clear, questions you have, first impressions, and new
concepts. Annotating is making notations in the book.
Assignment 2. Reflective Journal. Read Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
edited by William Zinsser and keep a reflective journal of a minimum of 8 entries. Each of these
required 8 entries must include a quotation, a page number, and a response to the passage
(this must be typed). Annotate the text (see above).
Assignment 3. Newspaper/magazine Editorial Reading Analysis.
Clip 5 editorials or commentaries/essays (NOT news articles or informational features) from a
reputable newspaper or issues-based magazine. Write your comments about each
editorial/issue. Your response should be detailed and thoughtful. Consider:
Do you agree/disagree with the editorial’s viewpoints? Why?
Does the editorial make you want to know more about the issue?
What are some of the author’s best arguments?
Which arguments or points made by the author do not make sense to you and
Is the author using logical or emotional appeals?
How does this editorial connect with other knowledge you have from other
sources or other editorials on the same subject?
Does this editorial make you think about anything else?
Staple the editorial to the back of each response.
Suggested newspapers/magazines:The New York Times, Harper’s, Mother Jones, The National
Post, The Washington Post, The Economist, The New Yorker, The LA Times, Atlantic Monthly.
Each assignment must be typed using MLA guidelines. This means, double-spaced, 12 point
Times New Roman, and 1-inch margins. The AP course assumes that you already understand
and use correct Standard English grammar. With that, begin the course by submitting work as
free of grammatical and spelling errors as possible. Each paper must be completely yours and
you must not use any resources other than the text itself to help you in any way. Do not use any
Internet resources or book notes. You must purchase each book (you will be annotating) and
bring them with you on the first day. If you are unable to find the books on the shelf, they can be
ordered. Begin your summer reading early. If you wait until August to begin, you will not be able
to give the reading and assignment the full concentration required.