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AP Language & Composition
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Ms. Hutcheson's AP Language Page

Print this entire page and submit it with your Summer Reading Assignments!!
To view the summer reading and the accompanying assignment, scroll to the bottom of the page. Thanks, Ms. Hutcheson
My job is to teach you about the art of rhetoric and composition - simply, how writers use language to get their point across to readers. We will study the works of a number of celebrated writers (mainly American) in a variety of genres -- the novel, the short story, autobiography, biography, satire, the essay -- in order to examine how language works to persuade, enrage, move, and delight us (Sweeney "What is this course about").
Study the vocabulary terms on the Literary Terms page of the site - there will be a quiz on these term within the first week of class.

Summer Reading  for 2004-2005

Summer Reading for AP Language and Composition


1.     Lopate, Philip. The Art of the Personal Essay: an Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Anchor Publishing. ISBN: 038542339X. Price: $17.95


2.     Chomsky, Noam. Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda. 2nd ed. 7 Stories Press, 2002. ISBN: 1583225366. Price: $8.95.


These are not books that will be readily available in large numbers at the bookstores. Call ahead of time and ask them to order a copy for you. You can also order this book online from Barnes and Noble or Amazon (the online stores often offer used copies of the books for reduced prices).


Students will also need to purchase the following for use during the school year:


        CliffsAP English Language & Composition  2nd edition

ISBN: 0764586858        Price: $16.99

        Merriam-Websters Dictionary of Allusions.  ISBN: 0877796289   Price: $14.95

        Any good college-level dictionary. Examples:

Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary

Websters New World College Dictionary

American Heritage Dictionary


Recommended Reading (not required):

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. ISBN: 0618226478. Price: $29.95.



Assignment for Summer Reading --



General directions:

  1. Print out this sheet and the vocabulary list. Turn in copies with your summer reading assignment.
  2. During the first 4 weeks of class be prepared to take some type of test on your summer reading and vocabulary.
  3. Keep all handouts, essays, and journal writings in a three or five hole binder with separate sections (tabbed dividers work fine).
  5. Bring the binder with you to each class.
  6. All writings (except timed writings done in class) are to be typed.
  7. Papers and/or journals submitted are expected to be the students own work. Information and opinions drawn from any source other than your own head should be attributed specifically to those respective sources. A student who submits a work either not his/her own or without clear attribution to the original source is guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism warrants a wide variety of responses from earning a zero for the assignment to expulsion from the class (depending on the severity of the offence).




A hint about writing for an AP class -- the 1-3-1 of FCAT fame will not cut it in this course. Your goal is to push beyond formulaic writing in pursuit of college level writing. Whatever you do, please do not follow rote patterns -- now is the time for you to begin to discover who you are and how you most effectively convey information to a reader while following standard rules of grammar and spelling and organization (yes, those things count, even in journals!)


I.                    Reading Journal and vocabulary log - DUE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL:


Your Summer Reading Assignment will be based on readings from The Art of the Personal Essay.


The point of keeping a journal is to find a way to engage the subject matter of the course over the progress of the year - in essence, to build on your own encounters with the subject matter over an extended period of time. Writers often use journals to record, respond, and rehearse - that is,

1)              to record aspects of their reading (plot, characters, structure, theme, language) and their own writing,

2)              to respond to the language and ideas of the reading and aspects of ones own work in progress, and to

3)              rehearse the language of the reading, either its terminology and expression or its tone, and the language with which you talk about the  reading so that it may surface more readily in your own writing about the reading.


When you finish this assignment, you should have 15 reading journals of 2 typed pages each in length. You will need to include in your entry: the essays subject matter (what is the author writing about) and what the author is trying to get across to the reader - basically, what is the author saying and why is he saying it? Be sure you are thorough with your journal entries - you may find them useful for your Reading test.  I also require a vocabulary log for new words encountered in your readings - be sure you identify the page the word is located on and that you define it according to how the author uses it in the essay (its been proven that an extensive vocabulary will improve your scores on ACT, SAT, and AP tests).


Selecting your essays:

  1. The Table of Contents for the Lopate book is divided into 5 sections: Forerunners, Fountainhead, The Rise of the English Essay, Other Cultures/Other Continents, and The American Scene. Pick 3 essays from each section.
  2. Following the first Table of Contents, there are two alternative ways of organizing the material: by theme and by form. When you select your 15 essays (3 from each section) be sure you also choose a variety of themes and forms. This will improve your chances of finding topics that interest you and expose you to a wide variety of writing styles and subjects.

 II.                Writing Assignment --  Write your own personal essay, titled "On Learning" -- DUE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL:

 (Do this AFTER you have completed your journal entries so that you have been exposed to numerous examples of good personal essays.)

Topic: "On Learning" -- Write about your relationship so far to education -- how do you feel about school? How do you feel about mandatory attendance? Are there other kinds of learning besides 'book' learning? Explore the general idea of education and knowledge and your relationship to it. Relate your personal feelings about the state of education to ideas and concepts that the whole world can relate to - not just a limited audience of teenagers. (Creative nonfiction essays use description, narration, and literary techniques to present a fuller picture than simple, straightforward expository writing does, so be sure your writing lends itself to a creative approach. A personal essay relates the experiences or views of the author and connects them to a theme. The writer presents his/her experiences NOT ONLY to describe their personal effect on the writer, BUT ALSO to show what they teach us about the world or the human condition. In other words, the author tells about something from his or her own life and shows what lessons others can take from it.)


Length: 3 pages, typed, double-spaced (be sure to format your computer to double-space for you so you dont end up with weird line spacing in Word, go under Format, click Paragraph, change line spacing from single to double).


** helpful hint ** Be sure to save your work often while you are typing. There is nothing worse than working on an assignment for hours only to lose it all in a power surge. So save often and save in more than one place. Save on your hard drive (C:) and on a floppy disc (A:). This way you always have access to your work. 

Email me if you have any questions about what you are supposed to do!