Applied Summer Reading Assignments 2012-2013

Articles for incoming 9th graders (choose three):

Articles for incoming 10th graders (choose three):

Articles for incoming 11th graders (choose three):

Requirements for students entering grades 9-11

Choose three of the five articles to read. For each, you will write a summary and response.
Write the following in paragraph form with at least eight complete sentences. Make sure you thoroughly explain your ideas.
  1. Introduce the article, its author, its source (the newspaper, magazine or website it came from), and when it was written.
  2. State the main idea or purpose of the article.
  3. Explain how the author supported the main idea.
    1. Include at least 3 supporting details.
    2. Embed at least one important or interesting quote.
  4. Respond to the article, explaining your feelings about the ideas in the article. A response might start with the following phrases:
  • I was shocked when I read…
  • I do not understand why…
  • I agree with…
  • I disagree with…
  • I believe…
  • If it was me, I would have…

Model paragraph
In April, 2011 Kayla Webley wrote a report for Time Magazine titled ‘School Shooter’ Video Game to Reenacts Columbine and Virginia Tech Killings. The article discusses the ridiculousness of a game created by Checkerboard Studios where players pretend to be actual school shooters. As part of the game, players can choose among the actual weapons used by shooters at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech University. The game is based on an existing game, Half Life 2, and at the end of the game, players have a choice as to whether or not to commit suicide before being arrested by police. Webley remarks, “The game has unsurprisingly garnered public outrage, including a bill in the works…that aims to prevent its release.” I agree with Webley that this is absurd, and I hope the game is never released. I do not understand how any human being could find a game like this fun to play. Maybe this is an attempt for the video game developers to gain attention, or maybe they spend so much time making and creating video games that they have forgotten that innocent people lost their lives at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Regardless, the creators have clearly lost their sense of reality and compassion. Taking actual tragedy and turning it into entertainment is just a bad idea.

Requirements for students entering 12th grade

Incoming 12th grade applied students will read Grendel by John Gardner. It is essential that you take notes and/or annotate the work while reading to effectively complete the writing assignments.

The following questions have been designed to demonstrate your understanding of the summer reading work that you have selected and must be completed after reading the novel. It is essential that you annotate (mark and comment on) as well as take notes on the text as you carefully read through the work since the writing assignments require you to provide textual evidence (quotes from the text).
Each of the questions below should be answered thoroughly and provide specific examples (quotes) from the text. Additionally, each response should consist of 1-2 paragraphs in MLA format. The purpose of the assignment is to evaluate your level or understanding of the novel; generalizations and broad answers will receive a lower grade.
This assignment is a course requirement that will be collected as an Achievement Assessment during the first week of school and will serve as the first major assignment of the year. The assignment is valued at 100 points.

1) Describe the setting of the novel. Setting is often referred to as the place where the action of the novel takes place. It also refers to the time period and the broader more general locales (such as countries/planets) in addition to individual settings like a specific house or building. This is a descriptive paragraph that should inform the reader of how the setting impacts the work. Use at least one quote to support your description of the paragraph.

2) Describe the protagonist (main character) of the work. The paragraph should include physical characteristics and personality traits as well as how the character’s specific actions define him/her. The author may not directly state what the character’s personality is like therefore, the reader must make inferences (judgments based on evidence from the text) to conclude what a character is really like. In other words, explain if you do or do not like a character, and figure out what caused you to feel that way. Use at least one quote to support your description.

3) What is the major conflict that the protagonist must face and overcome in the story and how is the conflict resolved? The conflict (the height of which is often referred to as the climax) is the major problem that the character is trying to overcome. It can be in the form of another person (the antagonist), a problem with society, a problem with nature (natural disaster) or with themselves. The second paragraph should include how the protagonist solved or did not solve his/her problem. Use at least one in each paragraph quote to support your description.

Model paragraphs

The setting of S.E.Hinton’s The Outsiders focuses on socioeconomic inequality in a 1950-s urban American town. The Outsiders is essentially a tale of class warfare between the Greasers and the Socs, two groups whose ultimate defining difference is where they live. The novel’s narrator, Ponyboy, recognizes this difference when he says, “Greasers can’t walk alone too much or they’ll get jumped…We get jumped by the Socs”(2). Ponyboy’s tone in describing his surroundings is indicative of the tone throughout the entire novel. As a Greaser living on the East side, constantly on the lookout for Socs, he conveys an apprehensive, tumultuous atmosphere. There is a need to defend oneself and fight for survival amid this volatile environment. In stark contrast is the rural farmland Ponyboy and Johnny escape to where: “All the lower valley was covered with mist and sometimes little pieces of it broke and floated away in small clouds. The city was lighter in the East and the horizon was a thin golden line… It was beautiful (77).This geography illustrates the peace that exists outside of their world without the constant social conflict between these two rival groups.

Protagonist (Main Character)

Ponyboy Curtis is the youngest member of his Greaser gang in S.E Hinton’s The Outsiders, and arguably the wisest. As the protagonist, his characterization is vital to the essence of the story. Growing up in a world where labels are everything, where Greaser is not just a nickname but a fate, Ponyboy strives to peel away the epithets, to see everyone for who they are underneath. He becomes increasingly aware, though, that everyone is separated into categories, willingly or unwillingly. He also realizes, however, that even within these categories, people who may be quite alike process their experiences very differently. Ponyboy exhibits a sensitivity to literature, love and life which directly conflicts with his tough Greaser exterior. He says of himself, “I’m different that way…nobody in the gang digs movies and books the way I do” (2). This illustrates the solace he finds in psychological escape versus physical toughness. Contrary to his tenderness is the hardened Dally, also a Greaser, who advises “You get tough like me and you don’t get hurt. You look out for yourself and nothin’ can touch you” (147). Dally’s life experiences have left him wary and distrustful, aggressive and even violent, characteristics that will lead to his demise while Ponyboy will, hopefully, “stay gold”.
In The Outsiders, by S.E Hinton, several conflicts are evident but one of the most dramatic and important is Johnny’s internal conflict and the resolution of that conflict. Johnny is forced to kill a Soc in order to save Ponyboy, which torments him throughout the rest of the story. Johnny exclaims, “ ‘I killed a kid last night…How’d you like to live with that?’ He was crying” (74). This stark reality motivates one of his final and most selfless acts. The church they have been hiding out in catches fire with children inside. This is Johnny’s chance at redemption and provides the platform for the resolution of his internal conflict. Without hesitation and against Dally’s advice to, “Forget those blasted kids!” (93), Johnny rescues the children and is crushed by a burning beam. He survives for a short time and has a final message for Ponyboy that clearly illustrates the resolution that has occurred. In his last communication with Ponyboy, he writes, “ ‘Listen, I don’t mind dying now…It’s worth saving those kids. Their lives are worth more than mine, they have more to live for ‘”(178). It is obvious that the conflict has been resolved as he accepts his death and has atoned the taking of a life with the saving of others.