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Don't Forget Your Summer Reading!

Please note: The following was posted on Schoology for students and mailed out to incoming freshmen in July.

Greetings!

Firstly, the English Department at UACHS wants to extend congratulations for your success in the past school year. We hope that you have a warm, healthy, stress-free, and productive summer, and for our incoming freshman students, welcome to high school! 

During the summer, the English Department wants to ensure that you are not only enjoying your time off but also remaining engaged mentally in preparation for your next school year. 

Therefore, we will be requiring you to complete some suggested summer reading, as well as a brief writing assignment prior to you coming back to school. These assignments are mandatory and will be collected and graded by your English teachers in September. The written portion is due on Friday, September 9, 2022. 

This assignment is to ensure that your English teacher next year will have a meaningful piece of writing from you so that they can assess your current writing level upon entering their classroom. 

For incoming freshmen, sophomores, and seniors, you will be working with the prompt found below. For incoming juniors, Mrs. Farah has outlined a slightly different task that she wants you to complete. Please take note of that below. 

Please do your best on this assignment and showcase your talents to your next English teacher to the best of your abilities.

Sincerely, 

Mr. Gurbisz 

English Department Lead 

________________________________________________________________

Prompt for incoming Freshmen, Sophomores, and Seniors:

Please choose ONE of the following texts below to read over the summer. You can either purchase the book yourself (all texts should be readily available through multiple retail channels) or access them via UACHS’ online library (https://soraapp.com/welcome/login/200952), though copies may be limited (email or message Ms. Chenelle if you don't know your login). Additionally, you should be able to find the books at the Jersey City Free Public Library. You should completely read the book that you choose, and then work on the following writing task.

For your writing task, you will write a 2-3 page letter to your English teacher next year. Please note that this is NOT A BOOK REPORT, so please refrain from writing about simply what happened in the book. In your letter, you should be answering the following prompts:

  • What did you think about the book that you chose to read? Did you enjoy reading it? Were you disappointed in a certain part of the book? Why or why not?
  • How can you connect the plot of the book to your own life? Was there an event that you particularly identified with while reading? How did you connect to it? 
  • Was there a character that resonated with you in particular? Why? 
  • Why did you choose that book over the other options? Would you recommend this book to someone else? Who? Why? 
  • What is something that you want to learn next year in English class or something that you hope to improve over the course of the school year?
  • What is one thing that you want for your English teacher to know about you? 

Suggested Reading for Incoming Freshmen:

  • Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee
  • Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

Suggested Reading for Incoming Sophomores:

  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Punching The Air by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam
  • Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

Suggested Reading for Incoming Seniors: 

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell 
  • Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama 
  • Bruised by Tanya Boteju 
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut 

For Incoming Juniors:

Dear incoming juniors,

This year I have assigned three speeches/articles for your enjoyment. Your assignment is to read the following speeches (all three) and then fill in SOAPSTONE (see below) for each speech. These assignments are mandatory and will be collected and graded, and is due on Friday, September 9, 2022.

The text for all three of these speeches can be easily accessed through a Google search: 

  1. THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS –ABRAHAM LINCOLN 
  2. THE ZOOT SUIT: AN ALL-AMERICAN FASHION THAT CHANGED HISTORY 
  3. “THE USES OF ANGER: WOMEN RESPONDING TO RACISM” BY AUDRE LORDE 

As aforementioned, after reading all three speeches, you must fill out SOAPSTONE for each speech.  For those of you who may not be familiar with it, SOAPSTONE IS ASKING YOU TO IDENTIFY THE FOLLOWING: 

S = WHO IS THE SPEAKER? 

O = WHAT IS THE OCCASION? 

A = WHO IS THE AUDIENCE, OR WHO IS LISTENING? 

P = WHAT IS THE PURPOSE, WHAT DOES THE SPEAKER WANT FROM HIS/HER AUDIENCE? IS IT TO BE ENTERTAINED, TO INFORM THE AUDIENCE, TO CALL THE AUDIENCE TO ACTION, OR JUST AN OCCASION FOR THE SPEAKER TO PONTIFICATE? 

S = SUBJECT: WHAT IS THE SPEAKER TALKING ABOUT? THERE IS OFTEN MORE THAN ONE SUBJECT; EXAMINE CLOSELY!  

TONE = WHAT IS THE STYLE OF DELIVERY? IS IT AMAZING, MAUDLIN, INSIGHTFUL, ANNOYING, OR DEMANDING? DISCERNING TONE CAN SOMETIMES BE DIFFICULT TO DO; HOWEVER, A REALLY HELPFUL BAROMETER IS TO ASSESS HOW THE PIECE MAKES YOU FEEL.  

Finally, each student must then write a 2-page diary entry to be graded. In this diary entry, please address the following prompts:

  • How do you imagine this assignment will address and/or augment any class discussion in September when we all return?
  • What is something that you expect to learn next year in English class or something that you hope to improve over the course of the school year?
  • What is one thing that you want for your English teacher to know about you? 

GOOD LUCK, HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!