Oxford High School

Required Summer Reading

Pre-AP English II
Teacher: Sommer Sneed Husbands

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» Required Reading List
» Finding/Purchasing Books
» Reading-Response Journal
» Reading-Response Sample
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Students entering Pre-AP English II at Oxford High School need to have completed the following assignments before the first day of class.

  1. Read the four books on the following list.
  2. Keep a reading journal according to the guidelines and specifications on the attached page.
  3. Come to school prepared to a) take a comprehension test and/or produce further writing samples on the selections and b) discuss thoroughly and in-depth the concepts and themes of the books.

Required Reading List

Coming of Age in Mississippi

by Anne Moody
(Laurel, 1968)

This autobiography of an African-American Mississippi youth takes place in the crux of the Civil Rights Movement. It provides a first hand account of a southern black girl’s journey from early childhood through young adulthood, revealing in an honest and raw manner the reality of growing up poor and black in a racially charged southern climate. The reader sees the author through hope and hardship, joy and anger, recognizing that Anne is sometimes a heroine, sometimes a victim.

Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury
(Ballantine, 1953)

This classic novel presents for evaluation a dystopian American society of the future in which books are outlawed and ultimately burned. The focus is on the threats of censorship, as well as concerns regarding the suppression of information/knowledge by those in authority.

Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow

by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
(Scholastic Nonfiction, 2005)

This nonfiction selection looks at World War II, the Holocaust, and the reign of Hitler from the German child’s perspective. Filled with accounts of children and teenagers who were members of Hitler’s youth organizations, as well as accounts of those in opposing factions, this book chronicles growing up under the Third Reich. An interesting, yet rarely discussed part of WWII history, this book allows students to examine a number of issues related to history, politics, and perhaps most of all, the power of language.

Oedipus Rex

by Sophocles
(Also known as "Oedipus the King")

The second in a trilogy of plays by Sophocles, this play tells the story of Oedipus, his curse, and his journey to the truth. This will serve as the background for another play we will read during the school year, Antigone. (Any translation of this play is acceptable. Though language may vary a bit, the story is essentially the same.)

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Finding/Purchasing Books

  • All of the listed books are available at Square Books, Jr.
  • For cheaper copies, there are many bargain book websites available now. Listed below are sites I have used personally to order used copies for bargain prices. I often buy books at the following sites, sometimes spending less than a dollar on a book.
  • These books can also be found at the local public library.

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Reading-Response Journal Specifications

Complete the following for each book:

  1. As you read, note at least ten passages of text (these may range from a few lines to a full paragraph) that you consider “significant.” You might consider the following when thinking about passage choices:
    • Recurring themes or ideas
    • Lines that you consider meaningful or poetic
    • Lines you find confusing or puzzling
    • Lines that evoke a strong emotional response in you
    • Lines you find inspirational
    • How does this passage relate to your life?
    • How does this passage relate to other things you have read?
  2. For each passage you choose, you will write at least one paragraph, but not over a page in response to the passage, concentrating on the reason you chose the passage.
  3. For each journal page, type the following:
    • Your Name
    • Book Title (from which your passage is taken)
    • “Type passage” (page number of passage).
    • Type your response.
  4. Making sure that you have clearly labeled each page with your name and the name of the novel you are commenting on, combine all of these journals into a booklet. Please enclose the journals in a paper folder with brads or fasteners; you may decorate the folder if you like, but it is not required. (As you should choose at least 10 passages per book, your booklet should contain at least 40 quotations and responses. You may put more than one passage on a page, as long as the passages are from the same book.)
  5. This journal booklet will be graded (for a test grade) and used in class to facilitate discussions.

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See the sample reading-response journal below.

Use the same spacing format that you see below, as well as 1.25" margins and Times New Roman as your font in 12 pt size.

John Doe

Of Mice and Men

“The day was going fast now… the tops of the Galiban mountains flamed with the light of the sun… A water snake slipped along on the pool… its head… like a little periscope… the reeds jerked… The sycamore limbs rustled…” (7).

Steinbeck has an amazing penchant for imagery. He makes the reader see, hear, and smell his scenery. I have never been to California, but when I read this passage, I felt like it was a lot like places I’ve been in the Smokey Mountains. I’ve been camping with my family, just like George and Lennie camp out that first night in the book. We always have more than a can of beans to share among us, but I can still see the sunset over the mountains and hear the sounds of nature that Steinbeck describes here. I have read before that Steinbeck is considered a regional writer because most of his fiction takes place in the same area of California. His descriptions show that he obviously found this setting very important and quite inspirational. This particular place also seems serene and welcoming. I wonder if the ranch they are heading to will have the same feeling.

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