AP English Literature (Seniors)
Instructor: Malcolm Fredeking
“We work by wit [our intelligence]”—Shakespeare, Bill
AP English Literature Summer Assignment (Printable pdf) Updated 5/21/2019
Welcome to your senior year of AP English! You’ve worked hard and deserve congratulations for having dedicated yourself to obtaining the finest quality of language arts education. Your senior year will be a busy one, full of exciting activities and responsibilities. Success with senior AP English will depend much on your dedication to remain organized and consistently involved with the course’s requirements. Below is a concise description from the College Board lucidly explaining the demands for AP Lit/Comp English. Please read them carefully in order to appreciate fully the requirements of senior AP English:
AP Senior English is a college-level course that “engage[s] students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature.” This class will explore mature, adult-level, thought-provoking works of high literary value which encompass a variety of genres, time periods, and language usages. All students are expected to “read deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand a work’s complexity, to absorb its richness of meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form.” Intelligent interpretation and evaluation of the literature is absolutely required. “In short, students in an AP English Literature course should read actively. The works taught in … [this] course… involve students in learning how to make careful observations of textual detail, establish connections among their observations, and draw from those connections a series of inferences leading to an interpretive conclusion [a thesis] about the work’s meaning and value.”
Quality writing is a must and “should be an integral part of an AP English Literature and Composition course… Writing assignments… focus on the critical analysis of literature and… include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays. … Critical essays… make up the bulk of student writing.” The approaches to writing will vary, from notebook-type responses and full in-class essays to an in-depth research paper. Most assignments will be relatively brief, but thorough. In essence, the goal of this course “is to increase students’ ability to explain clearly, cogently, even elegantly, what they understand about literary works and why they interpret them as they do. To that end, writing instruction… includes attention to developing and organizing ideas in clear, coherent, and persuasive language.” Moreover, writing is a shared experience as students work together to develop and refine their critical-thinking skills: “Much writing should involve extended discourse in which students can develop an argument or present an analysis at length.” (Advanced Placement Course Description, English, May 1999. The College Board. 1997. 39-42).
Finally, AP Senior English obviously prepares students for the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition exam (held in May). Learning to read and respond and write intelligently under time constraints remains essential. Effective practice and classroom discussion concerning timed reading and writing approaches will be emphasized.
Please remember: College Board expectations for reading analysis exist well beyond any high school CP- or honors-level curriculum. AP Lit/Comp is specifically designed ONLY for sincerely serious students who possess the MATURATION TO ENGAGE AND SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE STRICT AND RIGOROUS and TIME-CONSUMING DEMANDS of UC-level college work while in high school. Students must provide approximately 30 to 60 minutes of UNINTERRUPTED READING TIME, 2-3 TIMES PER WEEK, MINIMALLY, in order to thoughtfully engage the literature examined during the summer and academic school year. Thus, EXTERNAL SOCIAL DISTRACTIONS (computer/internet time, texting, extra-curricular activities, etc.) must be CAREFULLY BALANCED AGAINST TIME SPENT READING AND MEANINGFULLY ENGAGING THE LITERARY TEXT FOR ANY REASONABLE SUCCESS WITH THE COURSE’S REQUIREMENTS. In short: be prepared to spend the time and do the work necessary in order to demonstrate consistent competence with demands of college expectations.