Senior English Summer Reading Assignment 2011

Mrs. Walsh


Your reading assignment for the summer of 2011 is to read two books (your junior-senior SummerREAD selection and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah). The primary goal is that you enjoy what you read and continue to read for pleasure. The secondary goal is that you, as a class, have read a common text and bring a collective knowledge and experience to our first weeks of Senior English.

Because the essential question we will be asking (and trying to answer) in Senior English next year is “What Makes Good Writing?” that question should stay at the forefront of your thinking about literature. What about its style, structure, point of view, content, ideas, and language make this work a “work of merit”? We will then be asking the same question about your writing and addressing ways to make your writer better and better.

Because your work depends on your own good thinking and analysis, it is very important that you NOT consult SparkNotes, BookRags, or any other resource about the books you read. Doing so will constitute academic dishonesty.

In addition to the book selected for the junior-senior SummerREAD, Senior English students should read

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.

A. Read this non-fiction work carefully. Mark, using sticky notes (or write in the margins if you buy the book), passages that are particularly compelling because of their style, imagery, language, or ideas.

B. Choose one of the following projects to complete:

    1. Write a letter to the author and his response to you. Be sure that your letter to the author addresses such aspects as the way the work is written, the central ideas of the book, and the ways the ideas are presented (structure). Make sure you reference the memoir directly in your letter to Beah. Stay true to Beah’s style in writing the “author response.” Each letter should run approximately 1½ to 2 pages in length.
    2. Create an illustration for two scenes in the book and write a justification of your illustrations, explaining why you included the symbols, images, and details you did. Each written explanation should be at least 1/2 page in length.
    3. Create a soundtrack of the memoir, including at least 5 songs that you would put on your soundtrack. For each, identify the scene with which the song is associated and justify your reasons for including this song. What about the song – its lyrics, melody, ideas – makes it just right for that portion of the memoir?

C. In the fall, you will be asked to complete a writing assignment about the memoir, so the more you interact with the text, reading actively, and recording your thinking, the better you will be prepared.

Any questions about the assignments, email me at