Honors English 11/12 Summer Homework

The Readings

Students must read THREE selections before class convenes in the fall and meet the turn-in deadlines below. Please read your books in the prescribed order. These readings will provide the basis for discussion, group work, and presentations during our first unit, as well as your first major essay. Read carefully, complete the annotative and written homework below mindfully, and be sure to refresh/reacquaint yourself with all three texts before we meet in September. This schedule asks you to read about one book every 4 weeks; know thyself and thy summer schedule, and plan accordingly!

Required readings:

Reading #1: "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston (due June 30th; ISBN 9780061120060)

Reading #2: "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury (due July 31st; ISBN 9781451673319)

Reading #3: "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan (due by first day of class; ISBN 9780143038092)

The Writing (Two Parts)

Complete the following two assignments for EACH of the three novels you are reading:

        1. Annotation, also known as, write in your book!
          1. Page synopsis: Write minimally at the top of almost every page (or every third page, or so) summarizing the events of the page. Write what’s happening, the characters present, and whatever will help you quickly orient yourself within the novel when you flip through and reference later. This will come in extraordinarily handy for our discussions and the critical work you will perform on these novels.
          2. Underline key quotes/lines. How will you decide what to underline? Consider passages that seem to sum up / epitomize core themes, central conflicts or tensions, or are particularly indicative of certain characters. Put your brain in a critical mode: what might you want to quote and easily find later?
          3. Write down questions in the margins, as well as any connections to other texts/current events/etc. you notice.
          4. On the first day of class, the instructor will flip through each of your novels and check your annotations. Put ink on those pages! 
          5. It should go without saying that you will do this FIRST, before tackling the written reflection below.
          6. If you have an eBook or some other form of the book that you are unable to annotate physically (library book, etc.), you will still need to complete the above work to the best of your ability; that might involve a separate and detailed notes page or digital annotations that you will show me in class. 
        2. Written Reflection. Email these selections to Kailyn J Dekker-Black <kailyn.j.dekker@wmich.edu> by the dates listed above (or earlier, as you complete them). Format your documents in 12pt Times New Roman font, 1.5 spacing, 1” margins, with your name, my name, and the assignment title at the top. For each of the books you read, select FIVE passages/moments that strike you as significant. (See how your above annotations are already helping you out?) For each moment, please provide the page number and the first sentence of the passage so I know where we’re at. In two substantial paragraphs per passage, explore the following:
            1. Discuss why this passage is significant to the story as a whole. Does it play a significant role in the events of the novel, representing some kind of turning point or dramatic action? Does it provide a good example of the work’s voice, structure, themes, etc.? (Hint: it’s not always about plot, you know!)
            2. Address how and why this passage affects you. Does it connect to you personally in some significant way? Can you connect it to other texts (other books, movies, TV, etc.?) Did this passage broaden your horizon or make you reconsider previous assumptions? 

**To be very specific: that means you’re writing 10 paragraphs per book (at 1.5 spacing, that’ll be a few pages) times three books over the summer: that’s 30 paragraphs total by summer’s end. 

**With the written reflection, make sure to vary your responses! No boilerplate, copy & paste answers here — give each novel special care and attention. Find the novel’s unique voice and architecture, then explore on its own terms.


    • Parents should be aware that some of the texts contain mature content. ATYP faculty are trained in facilitating productive conversations on potentially difficult topics. We encourage students to discuss what they’re reading with their parents. To review the books, we suggest looking for the titles on goodreads.com or commonsensemedia.org.
    • ATYP English uses MLA style. Each book quote should be followed by the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.
    •  Zhang Scholarship recipients can have summer reading novels purchased for them. The ATYP office will send an email regarding obtaining the books. If you are not a scholarship recipient but purchasing the texts is a hardship, please contact the ATYP office. We will help!

    • In the spirit of supporting local business…please consider purchasing your texts from a local store! We have given our titles to This is a bookstore/Bookbug and Kazoo Books so they can help you. P.S. It’s absolutely OK to purchase used copies—but see if you can find copies that don’t have other people’s annotations in them.

    Have a fantastic summer! We look forward to seeing you in September!