AP Summer Reading

AP Summer Reading

AP Summer Reading

2018 Summer Reading Assignment for AP English Language and Composition

Mrs. Brooks: jbrooks@reyn.org



Welcome to AP English Language!  This course is a challenging course that is designed to be equivalent to an introductory college-level composition course.  The short-term goal of this course is to prepare you to pass the AP English Language exam next May (please note there is a fee of $94 for the exam – assistance is available for those in need).  The long-term goal is to prepare you for future college classes and to improve your reading, analyzing, and writing skills for a lifetime. We will primarily focus on nonfiction reading and writing, including essays, articles, etc.; however, fiction will still be a lesser part of this course, always with a view toward argument. General vocabulary, argument, analysis, and grammar skills will also be emphasized.

The ideal AP student invests up to 5 hours per week on additional coursework and/or AP exam preparation outside of the classroom.  A strong work ethic is required for success in this course; all assignments require thought and effort, and late assignments are rarely accepted.  I am always willing to give assistance or answer questions, so please don’t hesitate to let me know if you are struggling!  Yes, we will work a lot this year, but we will also read interesting, thought-provoking texts and have great class discussions.

Please visit and bookmark my class web site for your reference throughout the year: https://sites.google.com/site/BrooksAPLang (or just Google “Mrs. Brooks AP Lang”). You can find an electronic copy of this assignment there right now!


Required: Prior to returning to school in the fall, purchase and read the book They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (3rd edition) by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. Complete the attached assignment as well!

*NOTE: Be careful not to purchase the 2nd edition or the edition with readings! You may purchase it new or used (through sites such as Amazon or Half Price Books); new should cost $15-$20, and used may cost as little as $5. If you need financial assistance, please email me as soon as possible!

Suggested, but not required: The AP exam in May 2019 seems very far away right now, but time flies!  Ideally you will be preparing for the exam a little bit at a time all year instead of attempting to cram at the last minute. To this end, consider purchasing a copy of an AP English Language preparation book published after 2012 (so the information is recent).  You can buy these books new or used; Half Price Books usually has a good selection in the summer after the class of 2018 sells theirs back. I suggest checking reviews of various books online before purchasing one; 5 Steps to a 5 and the Kaplan books seem to be popular.  The goal is to find a book that you like and that has at least 2 practice tests that you can use to test yourself as the exam approaches. Nothing will improve your score like methodical, mindful practicing and studying over the course of the next 9 months.


ASSIGNMENT DUE DATE: Friday, August 17

LATE WORK ACCEPTED UNTIL: Friday, August 24 at 2:00; no work accepted after this time for any reason.

GRADING: 100 points total (20 vocab list + 10 pts. x 8 chapter assignments)


Assignment for They Say / I Say – read thoroughly and complete thoughtfully!


They Say / I Say is an engaging text about how to write essays, both long and short. I have chosen this book because it discusses EVERY writing tip I would want to give you, but does it in a way that builds your understanding of how to properly write essays. If you read this book and learn its tips and use its writing templates, you will become a better writer, not just in English but in all areas.

This book is very accessible because the authors are purposely writing the book so students can understand it. However, it IS a college-level text on how to write essays – so it’s a little boring! I will warn you that if you wait until the last minute to complete this assignment, you will NOT have a fun time. I highly suggest you get the text early in the summer and work on one chapter a week so you have time to digest the content.


1) For your first assignment, make a list of 20 vocabulary words from your assigned chapters. You should choose 20 words that you aren’t familiar with. You may choose them from any chapters you wish.

For each word, copy the sentence containing the word and cite it with the page number. Then, write the dictionary definition. If a word has multiple definitions, choose the definition that makes the most sense in the context.

You should type your vocabulary list in a Google Doc and be prepared to share it with Mrs. Brooks in the first week of school.  A warning: using other people’s words, thoughts, or artwork as your own is plagiarism. Anyone found plagiarizing, cheating, copying, or misrepresenting their work in any way will receive a ZERO.


2) For your second assignment, complete the following activities and writing exercises from the text. You will read 8 chapters from the book and complete an activity or exercise for each one. (We will finish reading the rest of the book before the end of the first semester.) Pay attention to chapter numbers as well as page numbers to ensure you’re completing the correct exercises. If there is an article to read, you can find it in the back of the book (use the Table of Contents to help you).

It may be a good idea to annotate the text as you read. Annotation is making notes such as underlining main ideas, highlighting section headings, circling vocabulary, writing exclamation points by interesting or surprising ideas, writing question marks by confusing ideas, etc. There’s no “correct” way to annotate – you’re marking and writing notes in a way that helps you interact with the text and remember details when you return to it later. Practicing now is a good idea, since we will annotate frequently in class!

You should type your responses in a SEPARATE Google Doc from the first assignment and be prepared to share it with Mrs. Brooks in the first week of school. A warning: using other people’s words or thoughts as your own is plagiarism. Anyone found plagiarizing, cheating, copying, or misrepresenting their work in any way will receive a ZERO.                 


A)   Read “Introduction: Entering the Conversation.”

a.    Complete Exercise 2 at the end of the chapter (p. 15). This will involve writing 2 paragraphs. It’s okay to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing – this will serve as a pre-assessment of sorts as you begin learning about writing essays.


B)   Read Chapter 1, “They Say: Starting with What Others Are Saying.”

a.    Read the essay “Don’t Blame the Eater” by David Zinczenko (back of the book, p. 241).

b.    Complete exercise 2 at the end of the chapter (p. 29). This will involve imitating the beginning of Zinczenko’s essay.

C)   Read Chapter 2, “Her Point Is: The Art of Summarizing.”

a.    Complete exercise 1 at the end of the chapter (p. 40). You will simply write your summaries rather than sharing them with a classmate. Choose an issue you feel strongly about, even if it’s as simple as why your favorite singer or food is better than another singer or food.

D)   Read Chapter 3, “As He Himself Puts It: The Art of Quoting.”

a.    For each of the bolded section headings, write a 1-sentence summary of the most important points/tips the authors emphasize in that section. You may skip the 2 sections that are merely templates.

E)    Read Chapter 4, “Yes / No / Okay, But: Three Ways to Respond.”

a.    Zinczenko’s essay, “Don’t Blame the Eater” (p. 241), was written in the year 2002. Significant changes have occurred in the fast food industry since then, such as increasing quality ingredients and informing consumers of calorie counts. Choose one argument of Zinczenko’s that you disagree with (based on developments in the last 16 years) and express your disagreement in 2-3 sentences using one of the templates from this chapter.

F)    Read Chapter 5, “And Yet: Distinguishing What You Say from What They Say.”

a.    Read the passage by Julie Charlip in exercise 1 at the end of the chapter (p. 76). Make a list of 5 signal phrases she uses to establish what THEY say and 5 signal phrases she uses to establish what SHE says. A signal phrase may be 2-5 words long and is not just the words “I” or “he,” though it may include them. Use the chapter to help you!

G)   Read Chapter 6, “Skeptics May Object: Planting a Naysayer in Your Text.”

a.    Look up the definition of “naysayer” before you read – it’s vital!

b.    Read the passage by Eric Schlosser in exercise 1 at the end of the chapter (p. 90). You may notice he doesn’t include any naysayers, so help him by writing 2 objections to his argument that a naysayer may raise.

H)   Read Chapter 7, “So What? Who Cares?: Saying Why it Matters.”

a.    Consider this summer reading assignment as an argument I am making to you. You may have noticed I neglected to point out who should care and why. (Or did I????!!!!)

b.    Use the template from p. 96 that begins, “At first glance, teenagers might say…” and finish it by establishing why you, my students, should care about this assignment.

c.    Use any template from p. 98-99 and finish it by establishing why this assignment matters.


Thank you in advance for your hard work this summer! Discussing and utilizing this book will be a beautiful start to our journey together.  If you have any questions this summer, please don’t hesitate to contact me at jbrooks@reyn.org. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.



Mrs. Jenny Brooks

View text-based website