Pre-AP Language Arts

To be or not to be?

Summer is a GREAT time to get caught up with reading in order to retain the skills you have learned the year before and prepare for the school year ahead.  Close reading of texts at or above your reading level will help develop your reading skills as well as prepare you for engaging literary texts on an academic level.  Plus, reading is fun! 

Pictured to the right are the two books that are required reading during the summer in order to participate in 8th grade Pre-AP English.  The projects to go along with these two books are listed below.

ISBN:  1596431520

This years summer reading list:

This course is designed to engage students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature.  Such close reading involves the experience of literature, the interpretation of literature and the evaluation of literature through class discussion and advanced writing.

ISBN:  0375842209

“Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess what is seen during a moment.”   ~ Carl Sandburg 


Directions:  All students must complete the blogging portion of the project, but a student may choose between doing the essay, the video interview or the graphic novel portion.  Both books must be read and projects completed and ready to turn in no later than the first day of school in August.  Again, these assignments are compulsory and any student who does not complete the projects on time will be removed from Pre-AP English and placed back into a regular English class.


All students will be required to post responses to guiding questions over the two books.  Two guiding questions will be posted for each book during the course of the summer, so students will need to visit the blog more than once to not only respond to the various guiding questions, but also to dialogue with other students.  Each student must respond to each guiding question and then to at least one other student who has posted.  

Here is how to begin:

1.  Click on the link at the top of the webpage that says Book Study
 Once on the Book Study page, click on the picture of the book you want/need to blog
3.  Follow the instructions on the page for adding a comment.
4.  Remember to read all other posts before deciding to post your comment.
5.  Never type in all caps.
 Never use slang or inappropriate language. 
 Always use mature, proper grammar and spelling.  Always re-read and edit what you have written for mistakes before you post.
 Never forget to post your name.  All anonymous posts will deleted

Please note:  All posts can be monitored and traced. Any comment posted that is not polite to your fellow posters or is in any way inappropriate will be deleted and the student who posted the comment will banned from the blog and disciplined appropriately.  Any comment posted anonymously with no name will be deleted.


Write a 5 paragraph persuasive essay over the prompt below.  Your persuasive essay needs to be tied back into “The Book Thief”.

Your essay needs to be typed in Times New Roman and in 12 point font.  Your essay also needs to be double spaced. -- Essays that are not properly formatted will not be accepted unless prior arrangements are made with the teacher.

You are not allowed to use 1st person in your essay!  

Prompt:  Is there ever a time when censorship is ethical?  Take only one side of the argument and give 3 reasons why you think so.

Story Corp

Interview a WWII veteran or Holocaust survivor and work with your teacher at the start of school to submit your interview to the Library of Congress’s Story Corp project 

Story Corps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.  By recording the stories of our lives with the people we care about, we experience our history, hopes, and humanity.  Each conversation is archived for generations to come at the Library of Congress.

To get started, go to and follow the directions.  There is good information on this site on how to get set up and how to conduct an interview.  It will even guide you on what type of equipment to use.  

Movie Preview

Create your own movie preview over one of the two books.  Your preview must be in video format and be a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes long, but it may be longer.  Your movie preview should follow the same type of format as other typical movie previews in providing the viewer with a brief tantalizing summary of the movie without giving any major plot devices away.  The ultimate goal of your movie preview is the same as the persuasive essay:  To convince your audience to go see your movie.  You will be graded on length, creativity and originality, and the effectiveness of your “movie preview” to spark interest and persuade.

Graphic Novel

Students are to create their own graphic novel over the novel “The Book Thief”.  Your graphic novel should be at least 8 pages long, but may be longer as is necessary to adequately retell the story.  Essentially your graphic novel should be the novel “The Book Thief” in graphic novel form.  Your graphic novel must be colored and have a cover.  

There are no requirements as to the number of panes per page or the style in which the panes should be arranged or the artwork rendered.  In this respect, students are encouraged towards originality and artistic license in their visual retelling of the story.  Students should look to “American Born Chinese” or any other comic book or graphic novel for inspiration and guidance, should they need it.

Please note:  This assignment is designed for those students who are artistically gifted and inclined.  We are looking for detailed, expressive art and coloring in this graphic novel project.  Entries submitted with stick figures or other artwork that has not been adequately developed will not be accepted.

Recommended Reads!

In addition to the summer reading assignments, students entering 8th grade Pre-AP English should have at least a base familiarity with (if not have read), the following texts:

  1. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

  2. “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie

  3. “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carrol

  4. “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  5. “House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros

Frequently Asked Questions

If you get stuck or need help with your summer projects you may contact me, Mr. Holder, at # 303-653-3700.  I will do my best to help you over the phone.  If I do not answer when you call, please leave a message with your name, your problem, and a number I can call you back at and I will get in touch with you as soon as I am able.

Have a wonderful summer break and I will see you all in August!