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Guiding questions for student reading:
1. What characters play key roles in the development of each protagonist?
2. In what ways do the main characters defy the status quo?
3. How do specific instances in the plot aid or harm the main character?
4. What main idea(s) about society does the author want readers to contemplate?
5. What significance does each title have in regards to the theme of each novel?
Students, please use these questions as a guide for your annotation of the summer reading.
Your teachers encourage the practice of annotation in all your assigned reading at Stevenson, as a way to prepare for classroom activities and assessments and to reinforce the habit of active reading.
Why summer reading?
As a summer reading text, The Bean Trees
addresses some of the most fundamental issues regarding personal ethics in the face of societal ills. As the novel’s main character, Taylor Greer offers answers to the guiding questions set forth in the sophomore accelerated curriculum. She is a character who faces moral dilemmas and addresses those dilemmas with integrity. Taylor’s story enhances the students’ social and emotional learning, specifically in the areas of self awareness, social awareness, self management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. This text also serves as a springboard to some of the multicultural texts that students will study sophomore year. Through a three-year-old American Indian, Kingsolver uses her own Native American heritage to expose students to the plight of Guatemalan refugees and the moral decisions they make. The text further shows that a child can truly be the reason for a young adult’s personal growth as Taylor moves away from her own egocentric needs.
What is the purpose of the summer reading assignment?
The purpose for summer reading at this level are highlighted below:
1. Provide a common experience for all Sophomore Accelerated English students.
2. Establish course expectations for reading which include keeping the students’ reading ability sharp over the summer months and providing a foundation for thematic study.
3. Establish course expectations for writing, which include helping students establish and sustain a clear purpose/focus, develop a logical expression of ideas, and use appropriate and thorough support for developing a thesis.
What do we expect students to learn from the summer reading?
1. Compare and contrast main characters and their ethical actions as they interact with society.
2. Explore themes that emerge from the two novels and write about them using evidence from both texts as well as supplemental nonfiction sources.
3. Analyze textual evidence to support and defend a thematic position.
4. Identify and utilize proper MLA citation from multiple sources.
What can you expect in your English class at the beginning of the school year?
Teachers will use myriad strategies and methods to reach their instructional goals. In the 5-7 day unit, students will demonstrate their understanding of key concepts and characters through reading supplemental nonfiction texts, discussing key ideas in both small group and whole class formats, and writing responses to guided questions and short prompts.
How will what you've learned be assessed?
On the second day of school, students will be held accountable for their reading through a quiz on The Bean Trees
. The assessment is designed to provide insight into students’ reading habits and comprehension. Through class discussions, small group work, and individual responses to prompts, students will identify and explain themes within the novel. In a culminating essay, students will demonstrate their mastery of key concepts by synthesizing these ideas. The essay will also establish a baseline for further writing instruction.
What feedback will you receive from your teacher?
Students will receive formative feedback through guiding comments that will enhance a student’s reading of the text and his or her writing skills that will continue to develop over the academic year. The teacher will use a rubric or provide commentary on the writing.