AP English Language and Composition: Required Summer Reading


Welcome to AP English Language and Composition! Throughout the upcoming school year, this college-level course will ask you to dive deeply into the nuances of language, intricacies of rhetoric, and inherent biases of writers. Research and style development will be key components of our study.

In your past English courses, you have grown accustomed to studying literary works largely for their aesthetic function. In this course, you will be studying them through a different lens entirely: exploring their rhetorical function.

By the end of this course, you will become a curious, critical, and conscientious reader of diverse texts, and become a flexible, reflective writer of texts addressed to diverse audiences for diverse purposes. The reading and writing you will do in the course deepens and expands your understanding of how written language functions rhetorically: to communicate writers’ intentions and elicit readers’ responses in particular situations. The course will cultivate the rhetorical understanding and use of written language by directing your attention to writer/reader interactions.

To support these goals, rhetoric and composition courses emphasize the reading and writing of analytic and argumentative texts in combination with texts representing English-language literary traditions.

In order to adequately prepare yourself for some of the many topics and skills we will cover together, you will need to complete a few tasks on your own before the start of the course.

    No need to read this book through at the moment, but you’ll want to have this handy to make sure all of your writing adheres to MLA conventions.
  2. CHOOSE AND READ ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TITLES EXPLORING THE WRITING CRAFT: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott or On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
    You will need to acquire the book yourself. Please read your selection thoroughly, taking notes and/or making annotations. After reading, please reflect on what you feel are the top ten “takeaways” from the book based on your experience as a writer in a 1-2 page, double-spaced response. Use MLA citations for citing quotations from the book.
  3. READ AND ANNOTATE A NON-FICTION BOOK: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
    Again, please obtain a copy of the book on your own. Read this exploration of a horrific 1959 crime very carefully, annotating the work for anything you find noteworthy. Pay special attention to whether or not the author maintains objectivity in his account of events.

    Use your understanding of the elements of author’s voice (diction, detail, imagery, syntax, figurative language, and tone) to determine whether Capote maintained objectivity in his depiction of the Clutter murders and the investigation afterward. Be sure to apply one of the lessons you gleaned from either King’s or Lamott’s book. Your analysis should be at least 3 pages long (double-spaced, standard MLA format).

    Be sure your writing is proofread and polished. It should strictly follow MLA guidelines (heading, header, citations, Works Cited, etc). Use your MLA guide for these requirements.

    The above requirements are due on the first day of class. No exceptions will be made. Expect a test and further discussion on the above readings within the first two weeks of the semester.

Assignment Reminders

Bring with you on the first day of the semester:

  • “Top Ten Takeaways” Response Paper (based on selected Lamott or King text): 1-2 page, double-spaced response
    • Your response should printed and brought to class that day
    • It should also be electronically available
  • In Cold Blood Analysis Essay: 3 pages, double-spaced
    • Your response should printed and brought to class that day
    • It should also be electronically available
  • Both copies of your text with notes/annotations
  • In Cold Blood Test: the first week of school; includes multiple choice and constructed response items.
    • Please keep in mind, if you read this book in the early summer, you are still accountable for being familiar with characters, relationships, plot events, etc. for the test during the first week of school. Therefore, you should consider taking detailed notes/annotations in order to refresh your memory closer to the test.

Have a wonderful summer- looking forward to working with you in September!

Mr. James Costanzo and Ms. Erin Powers