Honors Junior English Summer Reading Project 2019


STEP 1: Read the Citizenship Rights & Responsibilities of Citizens of the United States

This year in Honors Junior English, we will be exploring a central question across all of our texts—“What does it mean to be an American Citizen in the 21st century?”

The goal of this course is threefold. First, we will aim to develop a nuanced and informed view on what it means to be an American Citizen in the 21st century. Second, we will examine and analyze the ways in which rhetoric informs and structures ALL of the texts that we read. Third, we will utilize our new rhetorical knowledge to compose texts that are well-argued and stylistically appropriate for their intended audience.

To guide us through our explorations, we will use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s “Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities” as our signpost. It is linked HERE. Please read this short document before buying and reading your summer reading texts.


STEP 2: Read The Two Following Non-Fiction Books

Each student will read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, a work of General Nonfiction that is often called the first “Nonfiction Novel” and Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, a memoir about the struggles of one defense lawyer in navigating the criminal justice system, specifically in regards to death row cases. These books both connect to civic responsibilities as defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service; when reading, consider your responsibilities to “respect and obey federal, state, and local laws” and to “serve on a jury when called upon.” The Honors Junior English class focuses on the reading of a variety of texts and facilitates informed citizenship, thus increasing students' capacity to enter into consequential conversations with others about meaningful issues.

In addition to taking note of the basic literary conventions of the text, students will also be focusing on the rhetorical devices used within the text, the author's purpose, and the effect on the reader. To aid you in this pursuit, you will use the “AP Language and Composition Major Works Data Sheet” (available by email or on the Curley AP English website) which will guide you through considering the text in an appropriate manner. Although you are not in the AP Class, you will be expected to participate in high-level reading and writing work commensurate with the Franciscan program. You MUST complete this Data Sheet for Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. You DO NOT need to complete this Data Sheet for Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.


STEP 3: Define Rhetorical Terms

You are responsible for defining the following terms before the start of school. Within the first 5 weeks of class you will be tested, in a multiple choice style test, on the terms. You will need to be able to define them and recognize examples of them in literature.  These terms will also help you in understanding your chosen summer texts and in the completion of your data sheet. The terms have been provided in case you would like to make flashcards before the start of the school year! 




Aristotelian Appeals



Compare and Contrast




Deductive Reasoning





Figurative Language





Inductive Reasoning










Rhetorical Triangle










Works of non-fiction, whether implicitly or explicitly, present an argument to the reader and support this argument with different types of evidence and rhetorical techniques. For your summer writing assignment, you will create ONE essay in which you rhetorically analyze the argument of Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy.

Briefly identify the text’s central argument, then, analyze the evidence and techniques (to the best of your ability--I understand you are unfamiliar with most techniques at this point, but do not hesitate to refer to the above vocab list) the authors use to support his or her argument. Finally, in the conclusion, evaluate the argument as a whole. Whether you agree with everything the author says or not is irrelevant; you may comment on it, but I primarily want to know if their argument holds up or falls apart, and if it does, where. Avoid summarizing the texts and focus on analyzing and evaluating the evidence.

To complete your summer-reading project you will write one 750-1000 word MLA-style paper. The format of the paper will proceed as follows:

1.  Briefly identify the central argument of the work.

2.  Analyze both the evidence and techniques the author uses to produce their argument.

3. Evaluate the argument of the text as a whole.

*Avoid plot summary--i.e. do not simply tell me what happened in your book!