English 12


Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Anchor-1st Anchor Books edition, March 16, 1998
ISBN: 978-0385490818

The Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
Publisher: Bloomsbury, USA
ISBN: 978-1608195213

Reading Tasks:

  1. Read and annotate the books assigned for summer reading before school starts. To annotate a text, write meaningful questions, comments, and observations within the text of the book. These annotations will be submitted for a grade. This assignment will be due the first day our English class meets.


“Just as rigor does not reside in the barbell but in the act of lifting it, rigor in reading is not an attribute of a text but rather a reader’s behavior – engaged, observant, responsive, questioning, analytical. These close reading strategies are a means by which you engage with text and they offer you a chance to hone your critical reading habits.” -Kylene Beers, Notice and Note


  1. As you read your texts, consider all of the ways that you can connect with what you are reading. Use a variety of approaches to record your reactions to your book. Here are some suggestions that will help you with your annotations:  

  • Offer an analysis or interpretation of what is happening in the text.  
  • Point out and discuss literary techniques the author is using.  
  • Explain the effects of syntax, tone, diction, point of view, figurative language and other techniques.
  • Ask specific questions about what you don’t understand.  
  • Make connections to other parts of the book.  
  • Make connections to other texts you have read or to things you have seen, including movies, comic books/graphic novels, news events, other books, stories, plays, songs, or poems
  • Paraphrase or summarize a particularly difficult or meaningful passage or moment from the text.  
  • Make connections to your own life experiences.  
  • Describe a new perspective you may have now.  
  • Explain the historical context or traditions/social customs that are used in the passage.
  1. Vocabulary: Be sure to identify new vocabulary words and define them in the text. Make sure the definition you are using makes sense contextually.


Grammar Tasks: As you read,

  1. Identify stylistic choices such as: parallel structure, phrases and clauses used to add variety and/or interest

  2. Identify punctuation used to clarify and enhance the writing: commas, parentheses, dashes, hyphens, semicolon


Evidence of Learning Tasks:

  1. During the first few weeks of school, we’ll be working on two writing exercises based on your summer reading.

  • An argument essay.
  • A textual analysis response based on central ideas and literary techniques.

2. Additionally, during the first few days of school, we’ll be working on vocabulary from the summer reading texts.


What to Bring to Class Day 1:

  1. Your actively read texts, evidencing a variety of approaches of your reactions to your book.

  2. Your actively read texts, evidencing vocabulary highlighted and defined.


Where Do I Purchase/Order the Summer Reading Novels?

  1. Barnes and Noble or other local bookstores

  2. Amazon.com or other sites