Dear ap literature Student

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Dear AP Literature Student:

Welcome to AP Literature and Composition. I am thrilled that you have all chosen to challenge yourself, and I am looking forward to a fantastic year of reading beautiful fiction, drama, and poetry. Listed below is our summer assignment. Our major text for the beginning of the year is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. We will be working with this text throughout the first two weeks of the semester so it is important that you have read this book closely and analytically before you arrive back at school. Throughout the year you will be reading a variety of short stories, novels, plays, and poems. For each novel, you will be required to provide evidence of annotations that scan the entire novel. There will be separate assignments for each novel that will be due at the end of your reading. The novels are lengthy, so plan accordingly. Do not wait until the last minute to start reading. In addition to Atlas Shrugged, you will be working with the text titled, How to Read Literature Like a Professor. This is obviously not a novel, but a text that will assist you in becoming a better analytical reader. The introduction and the first four chapters are due on the first day of school, and the rest of the chapters will be used throughout the year. If you have any questions, please email me at

The Summer Reading Assignments:
Part I: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Read and annotate the novel. Annotation should not simply summarize. Read with an analytical lens. Look for symbols, character development/motive, figurative language, mood, setting development, etc.

Part II: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand


  1. Francisco d’Anconia says that the “words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.” What does he mean? What are today’s prevalent moral attitudes toward money? Do you agree with Francisco’s view? Explain why or why not.

  2. Atlas Shrugged is both a celebration of business and a defense of it against widespread attacks. Judging from the novel, as well as from Ayn Rand’s essay “What Is Capitalism?” and her speech “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business,” why does she think business should be defended and championed? What does she think is a proper defense of business, and why?

  3. Ragnar Danneskjöld says he loves that which has rarely been loved, namely, human ability. What do you think he means? How does his position relate to the idea: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”? Do you agree or disagree with Ragnar’s attitude? Explain.

Part III: How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

We will be using this text throughout the year. The following prompts for the Introduction and chapters 1-4 must be completed during the summer. We will continue the study of this throughout the year.

  • Introduction: How'd He Do That?

How do memory, symbol, and pattern affect the reading of literature? How does the recognition of patterns make it easier to read complicated literature? Discuss a time when your appreciation of a literary work was enhanced by understanding symbol or pattern.

  • Chapter 1 -- Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It's Not)

List the five aspects of the QUEST and then apply them to something you have read (or viewed) in the form used on pages 3- 5.

  • Chapter 2 -- Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion

Choose a meal from a literary work and apply the ideas of Chapter 2 to this literary depiction.

  • Chapter 3: --Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires

What are the essentials of the Vampire story? Apply this to a literary work you have read or viewed.

  • Chapter 4 -- If It's Square, It's a Sonnet

Select two sonnets (each should be by a different poet) and show which form they are. Discuss how their content reflects the form. (Submit copies of the sonnets, marked to show your analysis).
To Get Ahead on your Reading for next year:

You may want to begin reading some of the following novels. As you read annotate using sticky notes, notes in the margins and highlighting texts, or using the annotation chart attached.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin

  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Annotation Guidelines
Annotations for both of these texts should scan the different levels, but a majority of them should reflect level 2.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Literal—found directly in the text

Interpretive/Analytical—found by making inferences

Universal/Thematic—found outside of the text

Questions/notes that check for understanding

Questions/notes about the author’s choices

Questions/notes about how the text relates to the world outside the text, including how it relates to my life and what I know.

You can choose to annotate the text for this assignment in three different ways:

1) Mark the Text OR

2) Use Post‐Its OR

3) Create a Double Entry Journal

Please obtain the text and annotate in the margins. Your teacher will collect the text and assess your annotations using the rubric.

Annotate the text on post‐its and place them in the book. Your teacher will collect the book and post‐its to assess your annotations using the rubric.

If you would like to interact with the text using a double entry journal, please create a journal using textual evidence and commentary to demonstrate your interaction with the text.

Text and Page Number

Connections and Insights

“You were the river current/carrying the roaring notes...” (lines 37‐38 page 8)

The speaker uses a metaphor to compare her mother to the current in a fast‐ flowing river that seems to be carrying a song. The song might represent...

Rubric for Annotation


The text is extensively highlighted or underlined with many margin notes in addition to shorthand notations. The annotations demonstrate that the student has carefully read and considered the text’s meaning. The margin notes serve as an abbreviated outline of what the text says and what the reader thinks about it.


The text is extensively highlighted or underlined with fewer margin notes compared to the most carefully considered readings. Short-hand notations are present. The annotations which are there demonstrate that the student has carefully read and considered the text’s meaning.


The text is less extensively highlighted or underlined with some margin notes and short-hand markings. The annotations demonstrate a less thorough reading of the work than the top two rating.


The text is highlighted or underlined and the student uses short-hand markings. There are virtually no margin notes; consequently, it is impossible to determine how thorough the reading of the text has been.


Only shorthand margin notations are used or part of the text is unmarked or there are so few notations overall that the text may not have been read completely.


The text is unmarked

Rubric for Grading Essays


These well-focused and persuasive essays address the prompt directly and in a convincing manner. An essay scored a 9 demonstrates exceptional insight and language facility. An essay scored an 8 or a 9 combines adherence to the topic with excellent organization, content, insight, facile use of language, mastery of mechanics, and an understanding of the essential components of an effective essay. Literary devices and/or techniques are not merely listed, but the effect of those devices and/or techniques is addressed in context of the passage, poem, or novel as a whole. Although not without flaws, these essays are richly detailed and stylistically resourceful, and they connect the observations to the passage, poem, or novel as a whole. Descriptors that come to mind while reading this essay include: mastery, sophisticated, complex, specific, consistent, and well supported.


These highly competent essays comprehend the task set forth by the prompt and respond to it directly, although some of the analysis may be implicit rather than explicit. The 7 essay is in many ways a thinner version of the 9-8 paper in terms of discussion and supporting details, but it is still impressive, cogent, and generally convincing. It may also be less well handled in terms of organization, insight, or vocabulary. Descriptors that come to mind while reading these essays include: demonstrates a clear understanding but is less precise and less well supported than a 9-8 paper. These essays demonstrate an adherence to the task, but deviate from course on occasion. The mechanics are sound, but may contain a few errors that may distract but do not obscure meaning. Although there may be a few minor misreading’s, the inferences are for the most part accurate with no significant sustained misreading’s. An essay that scores a 6 is an upper-half paper, but it may be deficient in one of the essentials mentioned above. It may be less mature in thought or less well handled in terms of organization, syntax or mechanics. The analysis is somewhat more simplistic than found in a 7 essay, and lacks sustained, mature analysis.


These essays may be overly simplistic in analysis, or rely almost exclusively on paraphrase rather than specific, textual examples. These essays may provide a plausible reading, but the analysis is implicit rather than explicit. These essays might provide a list of literary devices present in the literature, but make no effort to discuss the effect that these devices have on the poem, passage, or novel as a whole. Descriptors that come to mind when reading include: superficial, vague, and mechanical. The language is simplistic and the insight is limited or lacking in development.


These lower-half essays compound the problems found in a 5 essay. They often demonstrate significant sustained misreading, and provide little or no analysis. They maintain the general idea of the writing assignment, show some sense of organization, but are weak in content, maturity of thought, language facility, and/or mechanics. They may distort the topic or fail to deal adequately with one or more important aspects of the topic. Essays that are particularly poorly written may be scored a 3. Descriptors that come to mind while reading include: incomplete, oversimplified, meager, irrelevant, and insufficient.


These essays make an attempt to deal with the topic but demonstrate serious weakness in content and coherence and/or syntax and mechanics. Often, they are unacceptably short. They are poorly written on several counts, including numerous distracting errors in mechanics, and/or little clarity, coherence, or supporting evidence. Wholly vacuous, inept, and mechanically unsound essays should be scored a 1.


A zero is given to a response with no more than a passing reference to the task.


The dash indicates a blank response or one with no reference to the task.

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