English IV Honors: 2017 Summer Reading Assignment
Purchase a copy of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman. You may also check it out from a library, but I advise purchasing your own since you will be annotating the book. We will be referencing the novel all throughout the year, so owning a copy of the novel is highly recommended.
Read George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language”. Here is a link to the essay: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/Politics_and_the_English_Language-1.pdf.
You need to read and annotate the book AND the essay. Following are annotation guidelines; I have highlighted several that I think work well with both texts.
Annotate: v. an·no·tat·ed, an·no·tat·ing, an·no·tates
1. To furnish (a literary work) with critical commentary or explanatory notes; 2. add explanatory notes to or supply with critical comments; "The scholar annotated the early edition of a famous novel" 3: provide interlinear explanations for words or phrases; "He annotated on what his teacher had written.” n. an-no-ta-tion
Possible elements to “annotate” in a text:
- figures of speech
- shifts in tone
- shifts in thought
- conflicts in scenes
- goals and motivations
- describing the import of statements and actions that
are essential to understanding a character
- discriminating between stated (or assumed)
intentions and concealed intentions
- identifying and explaining instances of irony
- rhetorical devices/strategies
- author’s use of diction (word choice)
- vocabulary (unfamiliar words)
- connections to current events
- connections to your own life
- connections to other things you’ve read
- recurring images
- color imagery
- thesis (non-fiction)
- main ideas
- provocative statements
- character descriptions
- points of contention
- multiple meanings
- effective use of language
- anything else that the reader intuits is of significance to understanding the
Annotating a text is a close, personal reading of the text. When you come to class on the first day of school, I expect to see the entire book annotated with at least ten annotations per chapter. The essay should be printed and annotated with 20 annotations.
Suggested methods for annotating a text:
If you do not wish to write in the book, you may want to invest in a supply of post it notes. This is also necessary if you choose not to purchase a book. You must use sticky notes to annotate if you do not own the book.
You may highlight your text evidence; you may also use different color highlighters for different annotation elements (listed above) if you choose.
You MUST label the appropriate text evidence with the annotation element (listed above) AND write a full explanation of why you chose that annotation in the margin.
Brackets: If several lines seem important, draw a line down the margin and underline/highlight only the key phrases.
Do not underline or highlight too much! You want to concentrate on the important elements, not entire pages (use brackets for that).
The following grades will be taken from the study of the book and essay during the first two weeks of school.
Annotations (first test grade)
Graded Discussion (held on Wednesday of the first week of school)
Timed Write (written on Friday of the first week of school)
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.