Required Reading, Summer Edition

Every summer I give my incoming students a few assignments to help them prep for the fall when they return- we call it summer work, aptly named. This summer I have some of my own to get through, besides working on forty letters of rec for upcoming scholarship and college applications (I will keep my juniors from last year and teach them as seniors next year). 

The first set of readings I have is for the actual work I assigned the kids. There are four poems they have to analyze by the usual suspects, like Dickinson. This is just a quick springboard into some analysis we are going to do the first two weeks of school. Then, I have to (re)read Othello, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and The Tempest, since I gave them the option of picking one from those to do some work on. They'll have an essay or some sort of test when they return, so I need to actually read the plays so I can plan accordingly. Right now, since I haven't actually started yet, I'm excited! I teach Macbeth every other year right now, and when I used to teach a regular English class I did Caesar, but that's where my Shakespeare reading has lied since college. 

I am also advising four students' Extended Essays in English, which is a 3,500 word essay on basically whatever they want. I have one student comparing Anthem and Fahrenheit 451, another looking at magical realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude and Midnight's Children, and a student studying the graphic novels Blankets and Daytrippers (the fourth student is still narrowing down his choices). With the exception of the two graphic novels and Anthem, I've read the other selections, but I still like I need to reread in order to adequately advise. 

One one hand, this seems like a lot of required reading- four plays, four novels, and two graphic novels (and then two more, depending). But the plays and the graphic novels should move quickly, although the magical realism books are a bit more dense (but oh-so-good). I need to space everything out, though, so that I don't get bogged down at the end, but so I remember everything for when we start back in August. 

I was always the kid in high school that secretly loved summer work. When I was in eighth grade our pre-IB summer assignment was to read Jane Eyre and to do the infamous 175+ questions in the yellow packet that accompanied with it. Always a student at heart, I guess!


  1. Sounds like teacher has quite a bit of homework! I didn't mind summer reading too much as a kid, but I always procrastinated it way too close to September (we always started after Labor Day). I was too busy reading my own books. But I few I read for summer reading over the years did end up being favorites and are some of the books I remember best from my school days.

  2. I wanted to say that I have been enjoying your blog posts, especially your Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts. I'm new to the blogging community with my blog only a month old, and it took me over a week to figure out how to comment on your blog with my WordPress account, or I would have commented sooner! LOL! Anyway, your posts are great, and some of them crack me up because they hit too close to home! I'd love to link up one week if I can think of enough things to write and find the time to do it :)

    I empathize with you and all the readings you have to do although it seems like you have a more work preparing for back to school than I do! I teach college English classes (community college: American Lit I, British Lit I & II, and World Lit II) although there is a debate going on right now if I'm actually going to teach World Lit and British Lit II for fall semester since I returned to school myself last semester to complete my PhD and feel the need for more balance in my life! Teaching, attending school, and finding time to spend my 3 kids and my hubby feels like I'm trying to corral kittens!

    Your students do a lot over the summer, which I think is fantastic! I'm extremely impressed. Do you teach advanced placement classes or is the school an IB school? I promise that I'm not trying to be nosy! I'm just fascinated by all the summer work! My middle son just finished his junior year yesterday, and I wish they had given them summer work for English or any class, but he has nothing assigned. It baffles me because I remember getting summer work in high school. I think I'm going to follow some of assignments you mentioned above for your students and give my son some "summer work" for English! He will hate me, but he needs to be prepared since he is in AP English senior year.

    I must apologize for such a long comment! Now that I know how to use WordPress to comment on Blogger, I shouldn't be so long-winded next time (No, I'm a huge talker, so no promises)! Enjoy your day!

  3. I've been meaning to read Daytrippers for so long, I heard so many good things about it.

    Anyhow, happy reading (and re-reading)! Yay for all those awesome Shakespeare plays and hehe, I'm hoping to revisit One Hundred Years of Solitude sometime this summer but we'll see.