Assignment Part 1

      • Assignment Part 1 (fiction)

        Click here to download a printable version of the assignments and book list.

        1. Read the “The Catchder in the Rye” (by Salinger) and
        2. Read “The Great Gatsby” by Fitzgerald.
        3. Keep a dialectical journal for both. Bring journals the first week of school. Expect a test on the two novels.

        Dialectical Journal Example

        Notice in the example below that the second column contains personal comments (such as your internal dialogue or your thoughts) as you read.

        Quote Response (pick any of the following)
        “Write the quote from the book with proper MLA citation in the left column. Your response and analysis of the quote will be in the right column.”
        • Raise questions about the beliefs and values implied in the text.
        • Give your personal reactions to the passage.
        • Discuss the words, ideas, or actions of the author or a characters.
        • Tell what it reminds you of from your own experiences.
        • Write about what is makes you think or feel.
        • Argue with or speak to the character or author.

      Assignment Part 2

      • Assignment Part 2 (nonfiction)

        Click here to download a printable version of the assignments and book list.

        1. Read a memoir, biography, or autobiography (a nonfiction book about a person) of your choosing. Go to Square Books and ask for popular memoirs or autobiographies. Google newest releases. I have included a list of popular choices with comments from last yearʼs juniors, but you do not have to pick from the list! Research and find one that will interest you.
        2. You will have a writing assignment on the memoir once you return to school.
        Suggested Memoirs/Nonfiction from Past Students
        Title Author Student Comments
        All Over but the Shoutin’ Rick Bragg “It's about how the author grew up extremely poor around Appalachia and then became a famous writer. I think the style of the book made it super interesting, and I loved it.”
        Becoming Michelle Obama “It was inspiring as it took us through her life. It provided experiences, stories, setbacks, and accomplishments. I found it raw and emotional and a very interesting read.”
        Between a Rock and a Hard Place Pat Benatar “It was really good, interesting and suspenseful storyline that kept the book entertaining/engaging the whole way through. Also has many Transcendentalist themes.”
        I Am Malala Christina Lamb “While it is somewhat long, I am Malala is not too difficult of a read and is a very impactful story. It really illustrates the privilege of education that we have in America.”
        The Color of Water James McBride “I personally really liked it. It kept switching to the mom and then to the boy's POV which made the book really interesting. The background information was really interesting too.”
        Between Two Kingdoms Suleika Jaouad “I recommend because it tells a good story about a woman, her fight against cancer, and her return into a society she was isolated from for 4 years.”
        Educated Tara Westover “It was quite lengthy; it took me a while to read, but it is definitely worth it. It's super interesting with lots of like intense moments. It made me rethink my own life and appreciate what I have, especially my family.”
        On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft  Stephen King On Writing was very entertaining and generally made me a better writer and more prepared for APLC.”

        Personal note: I think I will read Such Good Friends: A Novel of Truman Capote & Lee Radziwill by Stephanie Greco.

        Please contact me at if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. See you in August!

      Notes for Making Annotations

      • Notes for Making Annotations

        Download a printable version of Notes for Making Annotations.

        When reading, you should habitually annotate your text (make marginal notes). For texts of your own in print, you can write directly on your copy. For books that belong to the school/library, you can make notes on a separate piece of paper. For digital texts, you can use the annotation tools in various programs or apps. Annotating helps you to dissect texts and discern meaning from them. Following you will find a list of items to look for as well as suggestions for training yourself to be an excellent annotator.

        How to Begin:

        1. Summary
          • Summarize as you read.
          • You may do this by paragraph, by stanza, by page, etc. depending on the complexity of the text.
          • The more dense or complex the text, the more summarizing you will need to do.
          • When summarizing, stick to the plot and be as concise as possible.
          • You will look for other literary elements, as well, but your summary is your first (and basic) level of comprehension.
        2. First Impressions — As you read, write down first impressions:
          • Likes and dislikes.
          • Questions that arise (self-questioning is an excellent way to improve comprehension).
          • Points that are unclear or that you don’t understand and the reasons why.
          • Any initial revelations/discoveries/reflections, etc.
          • You will likely be able to answer some of your own questions by the end of the text or after a second read. Those that remain unclear should be brought up in class.
        3. Patterns — Look for patterns:
          • Repetition and recurring elements including (but not limited to): images, symbols, phrases, situations, mood, etc.
          • Mark these repeated elements and make connections.
          • Ask yourself why these repetitious elements are important. Why is the author using them? Do you derive any meaning from them?
          • Answer these questions in the margins or on a separate piece of paper.
        4. Significance
          • Identify any passages that strike you as highly significant and note why.
          • Don’t just highlight or bracket a passage without writing an explanation for the indication. Even though you find it important at one point, you might very well forget what you saw in the passage initially.
        5. Other Texts
          • Relate elements of the text you are reading to other texts you’ve read.
          • Are there commonalities in theme, character, symbolism, etc.?
        6. Context — Read the text in context. Consider the following:
          • The time period in which it was written (and set).
          • The social and political atmospheres of the time/setting.
          • Author’s background.
          • This may take a little research on your part to identify such context.
          • How does the author reveal these contextual elements in the literature?
          • Does the author tend to take a position on any issue? How does the author accomplish this?


        1. Number the paragraphs (and pages if necessary), so that you can make easy reference in discussions or find information quickly and easily when writing about the text in an assignment.
        2. Circle unfamiliar words, look them up, and define them. Also, practice using context clues to identify possible meanings of unfamiliar words.
        3. Underline, bracket, or highlight anything of importance that you notice and make notes to identify why that section is important or significant. Likewise, indicate any passage that you might have a question about so you can bring it up in discussion. Write your question in the margins or on another sheet of paper.
        4. Underline sentences/ideas that stand out to you and note why in the margins.
        5. Connect important ideas, words, or phrases with arrows or number them in groups.
        6. Summarize each paragraph/stanza/page in the margins for quick reference.
        7. Use different symbols, abbreviations, or highlight colors to represent different concepts. (For example, you might highlight all unfamiliar words in yellow or all metaphors in green, etc.)
      Last Modified on May 29, 2024