In light of the overwhelmingly positive student response to the announcement that we will be introducing summer reading in the English Department for the 2014-15 school year, we have decided upon a shift in the titles that we will require students to read. Upon consideration of several students’ concerns, we fear we may have been taking the easy route with our selected texts. So we are now excited to announce the following books for our summer reading component, effective April 1, 2014.
For Freshmen: Websters Unabridged Dictionary (non-fiction, pictured, left)
For Sophomores: The Collected Works of William Shakespeare (in two volumes, pictured, right)
Although we’ve only recently renovated our vocabulary texts at BHS, what we were giving our freshmen felt woefully inadequate – a mere 252 words? Over the course of an entire year?? Soft. Why stop there, when our freshmen can learn ALL THE WORDS?!?!
Regarding our incoming sophomores, our discussions of Shakespeare in the English Department get pretty heated sometimes, and we could not come up with a consensus pick for which of the Bard’s plays we should add to the curricula. What we decided was best would be if every incoming sophomore came to school in September with a full understanding of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays. Including Timon of Athens. Sophomores will complete a 100-question mandatory exam in the first week of the school year, including questions such as, “In which Shakespearean play does a character whose name begins with A give a soliloquy where he used an extended metaphor of a deck of playing cards signifying the struggles of life?” The exam will be worth at least 40% of the final grade for the year.
For Juniors: American Literature – All of it.
How much easier would the junior year be if students entered our American Literature class having already read the collected canonical works of American Literature? That opens up far more time in the junior-year curriculum for other items, such as Biology and Russian I. Students will be required to write a 50-75 page thesis statement about a major theme in American literature, from the 19th to the 21st century, due on the first day of the school year. The essay will be worth 105% of the final grade for the course.
For Seniors: Santa Paws, Our Hero by Nicholas Edwards
Our curriculum currently does not feature ANY literature that features talking dogs who are filled with Christmas spirit.
We hope you enjoy these changes to our summer reading program!