Summer Reading

Summer Reading Assignment

7th-12th grade
100 point test and 50 point project (first test grades)

Students and parents, your future English teacher is excited about working with you this Fall. The first key to a successful year is to ensure you keep practicing your critical reading skills over the summer. The English Department has carefully considered the needs of our Upper School students in selecting this year’s texts and assignments. It is vital that you complete all three parts of the summer reading assignments. Please read all instructions, and do yourself a favor and do not put this off until the end of summer. All summer reading assignments are due the first day of school. If you have any questions about the summer reading assignments, please contact your English teacher.

Part I: Read the selected book and related additional materials for your class: 

Part II: Complete a dialectical journal on your class’s book (50 point test grade) and annotate or take notes on the related materials As you read, you are required to keep a dialectical journal. Think of this journal as a dialogue between you and the book wherein you question it, make connections, etc. It should NOT be a summary of what happened in the book. Attached is a guide that will help you understand all requirements. To annotate your additional readings, you should print them off and underline or highlight main ideas or key phrases and words. Then, you should use the margins to note any connections to your book, questions you have, your own reaction to the text, and any paraphrasing that might solidify your understanding. 

Part III: Complete an in-class essay on your book and additional readings on the first day of school (100 point test grade) Using the information you have gathered in your dialectical journal and in your annotations of your readings, you will write a formal in-class essay on your book, showing your comprehension of themes, ideas, and/or characters. You will be required to use evidence (quoted material) that you featured from the book in your journal or that you highlighted in the supplemental readings; however, you will not be able to consult the actual book during the writing of the essay. All aided material will come from your journal and your annotated readings. 

Dialectical Journal Requirements 

  • You must have 20 total entries 
  • All journals must be handwritten in a bound notebook. 
  • You will be deducted points if your journal is not able to be read easily, which includes sloppy handwriting or more than one entry per page. Each entry needs to be on its own page. 
  • Each quote from the book is 1 or more complete sentences and are from the entire book (beginning, middle and end). This is indicated by page numbers. The quotes should also use appropriate grammar, spelling, and punctuation. 
  • All “From Me” entries have the required number of sentences per entry and demonstrate fully developed thoughts or connections about the text. 
  • 7th-8th grade: 4-6 sentences per entry 
  • 9th-10th grade: 6-8 sentences per entry 
  • 11th-12th grade: 8-10 sentences per entry 
  • You should not have the same comments as other students. This is cheating and will be treated as such. There is to be NO collaboration with other students. Any assistance from the Internet, movies, or secondary sources such as Sparknotes or Shmoop will be viewed as cheating. Please review MA’s cheating policy if you have any questions. 
  • The function of your "Dialectical Journal" is not to have you summarize your books, but instead to facilitate and/or record your thoughts, questions, confusions, frustrations and enlightenments resulting from your reading. Credit will NOT be given for simple summary! 

The format of a dialectical journal has two distinct sections: the left side is the page number and quote or summary of an issue in the text; the opposite side discusses your thoughts on the issue or quote. Consider the following for reflection in your journal (as well as other thoughts you will have); however, do NOT write about the same thing in each entry. You might write about: 

Any passage or item that puzzles you and how this might be resolved later (prediction)
2. Any text to text, text to self, or text to world connection with the book; make sure to explain
3. Why you think _____ acts as s/he does (characterization)
4. What you think it would be like to live in _____ and why (setting)
5. Ideas on causes/effects and why
6. Important metaphors, personification, and/or symbolism and how they advance the story

An example journal entry is below. You should format yours in the same way.


Page # From Text: From Me:
82 “Death wrapped itself around me till I was
stifled. It stuck to me. I felt that I could
touch it. The idea of dying, of no longer
being, began to fascinate me. Not to exist
any longer”
This is a sad moment for Elie. He has
fought to survive, but cannot fight any
longer. I can’t imagine being fourteen and
wanting to die. I can’t imagine being
fourteen and losing my family, my dignity,
my soul. What a tragedy. Wiesel
personifies death to show the control it
has over those who are suffering in the
camps. This is important because we see
that Elie has reached a breaking point.
Death has come for him so many times but
has failed. This time, however, Elie is too
tired to run, too tired to fight. He has had
enough. Death is offering a gift—an
escape from this hellish existence