Independent Reading

In order to expand your knowledge of literature, you will be reading a variety of books independently.  You will choose from a long list of AP-approved texts.  Because these texts are classics, reading them will not only prepare you for the AP Literature exam—it will also enrich your life.

You are required to read a total of EIGHT texts independently during the school year—about one per month.  Your selection must be approved by the teacher.  You will be provided reading lists.  Many of the titles are available as PDFs.  There are summaries on the class website to help narrow down your choices  You will present TWO of these books to the class.

For each of your chosen texts, you are required to do the following:

  1. Dialectical Journal: Keep a dialectical journal with at least 25 entries. Refer to the class website for information on how to create a dialectical journal.
  2. Create a poster advertising your book
    • Include the title and author
    • Include a quote
    • Illustrate at least one of the characters
    • Give an idea of the mood, tone of the book through your design
    • Use the large A3 sized paper
    • You may design this by hand or on the computer
  1. Note card: You will complete one card per major literary wor and put them in your classroom folder. These will help you review for your AP Lit Exam. These note cards will:
  • Become quick reference to major works studied in your high school years
  • Study guide for literary and stylistic devices
  • Allow you to consider similarities/differences between texts
  1. Book Talk: You will be required to give a book talk TWICE this year. Sign up ahead of time.
    • You will present your book to the class in a FIVE minute presentation
    • Create a poster that entices others to read your book—NO SPOILERS
    • Include an interesting quotation from the book to capture your audience’s attention.
    • State the title of the book and the author’s name at the beginning of your Book Talk.
    • Discuss the plot and conflict, setting, major characters, and a theme. Do not give away too much of the story!!  NEVER tell the ending!
    • Do not just list characters—remember this Book Talk is essentially a persuasive speech—you are convincing your audience to read the book.
    • You may become a character in the book. (“Let me tell you about myself.  My name is Harry Potter…”)
    • Have the book with you to use as a visual, or use other visual aids. You may use PowerPoint or Prezi if you would like.
    • If you use any video with your presentation, it will not be included in your three-minute time expectation.
    • Work on appropriate presentation skills: make eye contact, do not read your speech, use body language to communicate your message, speak loudly and clearly, etc.
    • Feel free to use different voices or wear a costume. Have fun!


Full Title/Author Full Name/Time Period Written


SETTING (Time & Place)–note if setting changes/why



PRECÌS  (summary, 75 words max)


MAJOR CHARACTERS—identify/describe, relationship(s), purpose (i.e. foil, archetype, protagonist, antagonist, etc.)


MINOR CHARACTERS OF SIGNIFICANCE—same information as Major Characters (some essay questions focus on minor characters!)


SIGNIFICANT SYMBOLS/MOTIFS—list, explain significance, connotations, etc.  NOTE:  You must include references for BOTH symbol AND motif!


THEME(S)—Note any prominent contextual, universal, and/or archetypal themes; then write a thesis statement that addresses ONE of your listed themes.


SIGNIFICANT QUOTATION(S):  Choose at least one—COPY CORRECTLY and provide correct parenthetical citation.  Explain quotation’s context and significance (speaker, situation, etc.)


UNIQUE STYLISTIC & LITERARY ELEMENTS—i.e. drama–key elements; or stylistic devices, such as irony, flashback, framing story, etc.; briefly explain how each contributes to the greater understanding of the work itself. 






Criteria Excellent Above Average Average Below Average
Introduction attracts audience Exceptionally creative beginning with an excellent quotation; includes title and author Creative beginning with a good quotation; includes title and author Not a very creative or interesting beginning with a quotation; includes title or author Not a very good beginning with no quotation; does not include title or author
Maintains eye contact Always maintains eye contact and engages audience Almost always maintains eye contact Sometimes maintains eye contact Never maintains eye contact
Discusses the plot, setting, conflict, tone, and characters Thorough and interesting summary of these elements Somewhat thorough and interesting summary of these elements Average summary of the elements Does not summarize these elements or is missing a component
Discusses the theme Discusses theme and makes an educated argument to support and elaborates on the importance Discusses theme but fails to elaborate on the importance Discusses theme but is not supported or not very thorough in elaboration Does not discuss theme or makes a very general statement about the theme
Progression Presents ideas with logical sequencing and seamless transitions Presents ideas and information in sequence with clear transitions Occasional lapses in logical sequencing or lack of transition Transition between ideas is not evident
Effectiveness/ Projected Audience Enthusiastically and clearly explains what is enjoyable about the book and the audience most suited for the book Explains what is enjoyable and identifies the best audience Does not explain what is enjoyable about the book or the best audience Does not explain what is enjoyable about the book and does not identify the best audience
Conclusion makes us want to read the book (or not read the book) Very enticing conclusion – draws the listener to read the book Somewhat interesting conclusion- listener might want to read the book Concluded but did not draw the listener to read the book Very boring conclusion or no conclusion at all
Demonstrates enthusiasm for the book Very enthusiastic and knowledgeable Somewhat enthusiastic and knowledgeable Shows average enthusiasm and understanding Not enthusiastic at all
Audible/ Presence Voice is clear, words are pronounced correctly and tempo is good; excellent body language Voice is mostly clear and audible; pronunciation is mostly correct; body language is not distracting Sometimes hard to understand; common words mispronounced; body language is occasionally distracting or inappropriate Speech is too soft, mumbled, or too fast/slow; distracting or inappropriate body language
Visual aid/ Excerpt (optional) Visual aid is well done, colorful, and very helpful to the presentation.

Excerpt is engaging, explained, and of appropriate length

Visual aid is colorful and helpful to the presentation.

Excerpt is not engaging, not explained, or too long.

Visual aid is completed.

Excerpt is boring and not explained, or too long.

Visual aid is very poorly done.

Excerpt is boring, not explained, and too long.

Stays within time limit Within time limit (3-5 minutes)     Too short or too long


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