Dear AP Student,

    Welcome to AP English Literature and Composition.  This summer you will be required to complete two reading assignments in preparation for the school year.  The assignments consist of two parts:

    1. Read Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney and Grendel by John Gardner.
    2. Keep a reading journal in which you will annotate both novels as you read them (see “Instructions for Annotating Texts” below). Rather than reading the whole novel and completing the annotations in one sitting, I strongly recommend that you spread the reading out and write periodically WHILE you complete the reading.

    Your annotations will be collected the first day of school and will be counted as two test grade (one for each book).  Finally, you will write an AP analytical essay over one of the two books the first two weeks of school. 

    If you have any questions, you can contact me at brent.warren@wimberleyisd.net, and, should you lose the instructions, you can download another copy from my webpage on the Wimberley HS website (search the staff directory to access my webpage).

    Happy reading,

    Mr. Warren

    Pre-AP/AP ELA Teacher

    Instructions for Annotating Texts

    1. Warren, WHS

    Objective:  The purpose of annotating is to encourage close reading of a text.  The student, rather than passively reading (i.e., reading the words without paying attention to what he/she is reading), should actively think about what he/she is reading while making notes about the text itself and his/her thoughts on the text.  Annotating is not the same as summarizing.  Summarizing simply demonstrates a student’s ability to regurgitate what he/she has read.  Annotating is interacting with the text to comment on and to interpret the significance of various elements within the text; specifically, the student makes note of such things as literary devices* used and to what purpose, characters’ traits, connections between various passages of the text, motifs that contribute to the overall themes of a text, questions that the student has about the text, and unfamiliar vocabulary.

    *Common literary devices to look for: diction (connotative and denotative meanings) symbolism, irony (verbal, dramatic, situational), figures of speech (simile, metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and personification), POV (point of view: first person, third person limited, third person omniscient, objective), narrator (reliable or unreliable), and rhetorical devices (logos, pathos, ethos, antithesis, parallelism, chiasmus).


    1. Purchase a college-ruled composition book (no spiral notebooks). This will be your reading journal for the year.
    2. Read “Close Reading Techniques for Annotations” (page 4-5). While you will not be able to write in the book, you will apply the ideas in the handout and write your annotations in your reading journal.
    3. Read the “Pre-AP/AP Annotation Grading Rubric” to understand specifically what you will be graded on and the quality of work we are looking for in your annotations.
    4. As you annotate, make sure you write in your reading journal the page numbers and quote directly from text the first line or two of the passages you are annotating so that specific passages can be easily found during class discussions. (See sample page below.)

    NOTE: The use of SparkNotes or any other similar resource for any part of this assignment will be considered cheating and result in an automatic zero.  The purpose of annotating is to explain YOUR THOUGHTS about the text.