|To: 2013-2014 US History I Honors (AP) Students From: Mrs. Schweitzer
Re: Summer Reading Program Date: June, 2013
You have elected to be a part of the two year program that prepares you to take the American History Advanced Placement Exam in May of your Junior Year. This means that if you choose to take the Advanced Placement Exam in May of the year 2015 and pass OR decide to enroll in the CAP program and earn a C or higher in the course, you will have earned college credit while in high school. Are you prepared for such a challenge?
In your sophomore year of high school, you will be reading a college level textbook. Also, you are required to complete a summer reading assignment. If you feel that a student should not be required to read in the summers, then you should re-think your decision to be a part of this program. You should be of the mentality that learning has no bounds if you plan to succeed in the U.S. History AP program.
This summer you will read the first chapter of American Pageant, the course textbook, and a historical novel, The Killer Angels. You will have a quiz on each the first week of school.
AMERICAN PAGEANT REQUIRED ASSIGNMENT:
Get to know your textbook! Read Chapter 1 (packet pages 2-24). Do whatever you need to do to understand and process the reading. I strongly suggest you take notes and create a vocabulary list. Unlike other textbooks, there are no highlighted words or definitions. It is your responsibility to identify words you do not know and define them. Read for causes and effects and main ideas. Try to distinguish between main ideas and supporting details. There are some online resources available to help you process the reading check your understanding at: http://college.cengage.com/history/us/kennedy/am_pageant/13e/student_home.html. (the spaces are underscores: am_pageant & student_home)
Select “Chapter 1” under “Navigate by Chapter.”
On average, we will cover one chapter per week, so it is important you are familiar with the text and comfortable reading it. Chapter 1 will give you a basic overview of early American history
You will be quizzed on Wednesday Sept. 11 on Chapter 1 and The Killer Angels. Though the two assignments may seem disconnected, they are not! As you read, try to connect early American history with the civil war era.
THE KILLER ANGELS
The Killer Angels is a well-researched account of The Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the American Civil War. However, the novel is about more than history and war. Like all history, it’s about people. It’s about the forces these people can and cannot control, and it’s the story of conflict at many different levels. In short, it’s an historical novel about the human condition. The best incentive for you to read the novel: we will visit Gettysburg in the spring and you will tour the town and battlefield where it all happened!
It is imperative that you read and do whatever you need to do in order to understand this book. If it means reading up on the Civil War or taking notes, do what ever it takes. You will be tested on this book upon your return to school in the fall. Monday, Sept. 9 is the first day of classes. We will discuss the book, and you may ask questions on Tuesday, Sept. 10 in preparation for the quiz on the novel and Chapter 1 on Wednesday, Sept. 11.
THE KILLER ANGELS REQUIRED ASSIGNMENT:
The novel is divided into four parts, one for each day prior to and including the battle. For each section/day, write a journal entry responding to the main actions, events, and characters, and discuss your own impression of the novel. Entries should be at least one double-spaced, typed page (#12 Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins), but may be longer. The purpose of the journal is twofold; first, to show me you have read; second, and most important, to reflect on the novel and enhance your understanding of the actions and characters. Do NOT summarize the events in the novel! Provide personal reactions that express your opinion or any confusion you have about what you’ve read. Write about how you feel about the characters, their decisions and actions, conflicts, the novel’s themes, and how the story reflects broader issues relating to the Civil War and humanity in general. Compare the novel to other stories or experiences. Feel free to include questions or jot down anything you are unsure about in the novel or regarding the Civil War.
DEADLINE: E-mail me your journal as a word attachment by Friday, August 16. The journal is worth 80 points in the first marking period. One letter grade (8 points) will be deducted for each day it is late.
I’ve also included a study guide with questions to guide your reading. The guide is not required, but I strongly encourage you to complete it as you read or after you read the novel. Each time I read it, I complete the questions and find that they help me to read with purpose and focus, and to better understand the actions and characters. I also take notes to organize my thoughts and keep track of the characters.
You might also find it helpful to view the movie version of the book, Gettysburg, in order to visualize what’s going on. But I must caution you; the movie lacks the historical perspective and richly detailed character studies that the novel’s narrative provides and which we will focus on in class…..
I will expect you are familiar with the basic events, causes, and effects of the war. You may want to review the war before beginning the novel. Understanding the war will help you tremendously to understand The Killer Angels.
One last piece of advice…Get into it! Think, reflect, wonder. The book may be about the Battle of Gettysburg, but what other kinds of conflict does the author address? Ask yourself questions: Why were these men fighting? Why are there wars? How does war change people? How much control do people have over their lives? Is there a cause you’d be willing to fight for?
E-mail me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful summer. Have fun, but also stimulate your mind! I look forward to seeing you in the fall!