American Literature and Honors American Literature

On-level: Select four (4) of the eleven literary works listed below and complete the following assignment for each short story:  

Honors: Select six (6) of the eleven literary works listed below and complete the following assignment for each short story:  

(Note: Lexile levels are listed in parentheses next to the text. Be sure to select stories that are at or above your Lexile level.) 

  • “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving (1070L) 
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe (820L) 
  • “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe (1240L) 
  • “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway (730L) 
  • “Cat in the Rain” by Ernest Hemingway (730L) 
  • “The Winnowing” by Isaac Asimov (850L) 
  • “Kaleidoscope” by Ray Bradbury (890L) 
  • “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (970L) 
  • “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain (600L) 
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (930L) 
  • “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver (590L) 

For each of the four short stories you choose, complete the following response (can be written or typed): 

A complete and thorough response includes: 

  • Two complete paragraphs (6-8 sentences each) 
    • Paragraph 1: A brief, chronological summary of the work 
    • Paragraph 2: A response to one of the prompts below 
  • You may only respond to each prompt ONCE; choose a different one for each text you read 
  • Evidence from the text, whether direct or paraphrased 

Prompt Options:

1. What connections can you make with your reading? (What prior reading, movies, life experiences, etc., can you relate to the work?)  

2. What is an emotional response you had to the work?  

3. Is there a character you identify with? Which one and why?  

4. What is the most significant or meaningful passage in the work? What makes the passage so important?  

5. Is there anything you find confusing about the work? Discuss.  

6. Is there a contemporary connection you can make? What is it? Explain.  

7. What beliefs, ideas, issues or values are expressed in the work?  

8. What parts of the work seem realistic? What parts seem unrealistic, and why?  

9. What does the work say about America and/or the American Dream? 

AP Language and Composition

**UPDATE** There is a new AP Language course description document. Please use the updated link:

Please click here for the AP Language and Composition summer reading assignment.

Please read the document in its entirety, as there are many requirements to the summer reading assignment.

List of essays for analysis (Choose SIX of the fourteen options below). Click on each title to access the readings. This collection comes from The Best American Essays of the Century (edited by Joyce Carol Oates). Although purchasing this book is not required, it is a great collection of non-fiction works.

  1. 1901: Mark Twain, Corn-pone Opinions
  2. 1909: John Muir, Stickeen
  3. 1923: Ernest Hemingway, Pamplona in July (pages 1-9 only)
  4. 1925: H.L. Mencken, The Hills of Zion
  5. 1928: Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me (pages 1-4 only)
  6. 1937: Richard Wright, The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch
  7. 1941: E.B. White, Once More to the Lake
  8. 1949: Langston Hughes, Bop (from The Best American Essays of the Century)
  9. 1955: James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
  10. 1957: Eudora Welty, A Sweet Devouring
  11. 1967: N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain
  12. 1970: Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (from The Best American Essays of the Century)
  13. 1972: John McPhee, The Search for Marvin Gardens
  14. 1980: Richard Rodriguez, Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood


For any questions regarding the AP Language summer reading assignment, please contact:

Ms. Mariko

Ms. Velrastine Shaw,

Mr. Sam Evans,