Summer Reading and Course Preparation 2017-18

The following pages will provide you with the information you need to take full advantage of the learning opportunities you will be offered in the next academic year. Your grade level and specific course enrollment will determine which parts of this booklet pertain to you.

It is important that you read, and follow, all the instructions carefully. We want you to perform at your best from the start of the year, and a thoughtful review of material and thorough reading of the prescribed books will help you do just that. We also have added some optional titles at the end of this booklet for your personal enjoyment, and we hope you’ll read as many as you can.

Have a great summer and we look forward to seeing you in September!


The Williston English department wishes to inspire a lifelong love of reading, as well as provide the analytical tools needed to approach challenging texts with both confidence and curiosity. With these hopes in mind, we encourage you to read widely and regularly this summer, sharing your appreciation of and questions about your reading with friends and family.

In addition to the texts that you choose to read on your own, we require you to arrive in September having read the grade-specific texts from the list that follows. For your assigned texts, please annotate thoroughly as you read. Annotations are notes in the margins that ask questions, highlight recurring themes, or point to important shifts in the story. As part of your annotation you should also mark your favorite passages, ones that strike you in some way, perhaps because of their interesting use of language, intriguing ambiguity, or symbolic significance.

You should bring your texts to class on the first day of school. Be prepared to use the texts for the opening weeks of the course. They have been chosen specifically for their thematic and stylistic connections to the material of the course, so they will serve as important springboards to discussion and writing—experiences for which you should be fully prepared.

ELL-English Language Learners

International students’ level of English study will be determined according to a placement test administered during international student orientation in September. Based on the results of this test, students will be placed in an ELL or standard English section appropriate to their grade level. Every student should read the required texts in English for his or her incoming grade level and attempt the summer reading assignment, regardless of whether she or he expects to be placed in an ELL class.

Entering 9th Grade

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Entering 10th grade

  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Entering 11th grade

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Entering AP English 11
(Language and Composition)

  • Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • Barron’s AP Language and Composition
    1. Read chapter 1 and complete the multiple choice section of the diagnostic test.
    2. Review the answer explanations and create a list of terms and concepts unfamiliar to you.

Entering 12th grade
(including PGs)

  • Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Entering AP English 12
(Literature and Composition)

  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Writers' Workshop

  • Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

History & Global Studies

World Civilizations

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

You are expected to provide printed, typed responses to the following questions on the first day of class. Please write in complete sentences, provide at least three specific examples for each question, and use quotation marks and page numbers when quoting from the novel.

  1. Kambili describes, in detail, the many different aspects of nature, including plants, insects and weather. How does geography and environment (setting) impact the plot and the characters in the novel?
  2. What does the novel, as a whole, say about the nature of religion? What does it say about the relationship between people’s beliefs and their behavior?
  3. What has the novel revealed to you about life in Nigeria? What similarities or differences do you see between life and culture in Nigeria and life and culture in your society?
  4. Identify a passage or scene in the novel that you felt was significant and would like to discuss with other students. What did you find interesting or significant from this passage that made you select it?

AP European History

The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon-Davis

You are expected to provide typed responses to the following questions on the first day of class:

  1. Explain both the methods and sources that Zemon-Davis used in writing this book.
  2. Explain what you learned about each of the following in 16th century France from reading this book: the justice system, gender roles, and peasant villages, traditions and lifestyles.
  3. Zemon-Davis had to make some assumptions about the feelings and motives of the main characters in the story. Choose TWO characters and explain what Zemon-Davis thought his or her feelings and motives were and why she made these assumptions? – Martin, Bertrande, Pansette, Coras.

In addition, read the Introduction and Chapter 11: The Middle Ages in the text: A History of Western Society 11th Edition for AP. Be familiar with the historical thinking skills and historical themes that are explained in the introduction. Complete “Identify the Key Terms” and “Review the Main Ideas” at the end of the chapter in preparation for a test in the first week of school.

Standard United States History

10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America by Steven M. Gillon

Write a detailed summary of each chapter to be typed and turned in on the first day of class that includes the following:

  • The years the chapter encompasses
  • The primary individuals that participated in the events
  • What tensions or changes in American society did each event depict
  • What the outcome of each event revealed about American society at that particular time

AP United States History

10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America by Steven M. Gillon

Write a detailed summary of each chapter to be typed and turned in on the first day of class that includes the following:

  • The years the chapter encompasses
  • The primary individuals that participated in the events
  • What tensions or changes in American society did each event depict
  • What the outcome of each event revealed about American society at that particular time

Read Introduction and Chapters 1-3 in text: United States History, Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, 2016 Edition, complete the review exercises at the end of each chapter and know the terms that are listed at the end of each chapter. Be familiar with the historical thinking skills and historical themes that are explained in the introduction. Be prepared for a test on the summer reading assignment on the first or second day of classes.

AP United States Government

The Thirteen American Arguments by Howard Fineman

1. You are expected to complete the following assignment which is due on the first day of class. Read the chapters listed below:

  • Introduction: “For the Sake of Argument”
  • The chapter that corresponds with your birth month
  • Chapter 13: “A Fair, ‘More Perfect’ Union”
  • Conclusion and Afterword

2. Prepare a typed one-page response explaining what makes the United States system of government admirable.

AP Microeconomics

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

  • Please read the “Explanatory Note”, “Introduction”, and Chapter One.
  • Answer the question for chapter one in a maximum of one page.


AP Chinese

AP Chinese students are encouraged to watch one or two Chinese movies and be able to describe orally the content of the movies and explain their culture significance. You’ll be asked to share with your classmates in the first week of class.

Students will need to practice the computer input skills with Chinese characters. You’ll be given a summer assignment package which includes studying "HSK" Level IV and AP Level vocabulary and completing the corresponding listening, reading and writing assignments. You have the option of emailing your work to instructor Rita Plouffe at

AP French

Incoming AP French student, you are expected to review the formation and usage of all regular and irregular verbs found in the Ensemble Grammaire textbook in the following tenses: présent, imperatif, passé composé, imparfait, conditionnel et conditionnel passé, futurs proche, simple and anterieur, subjonctif and plus-que-parfait. In addition, you should keep a journal in which you write eight times over the course of the summer, for 20 minutes each session. Sessions should be dated.

You should listen to a new French song or watch a French film of your choosing over the course of the summer, and it should be the subject of at least one of the journal entries. You should choose a song or film that interests you.

AP Latin

Read Vergil's Aeneid (Books 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12) and Caesar's Gallic Wars (Books 1, 6, and 7) in any English translation. For the Aeneid, Allen Mandelbaum's Bantam Classic verse translation is recommended (ISBN-13: 978-0553210415). For the Gallic Wars, we suggest purchasing the required AP Latin textbook, Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, by Hans-Friedrich Mueller (ISBN-13: 978-0-86516-752-0); the required English reading is included on pages 199-305. You will need copies for the entire school year. It is recommended that you study the course-specific vocabulary available from your teacher, or purchase Caesar and Vergil Vocabulary Cards (David Pellegrino and Dennis De Young, Authors), available on

AP Spanish

Read an article from an online Spanish newspaper each month (June, July, and August) and submit a summary of the article, including the day the article was read and the name of the newspaper, to Mr. Garcia at In addition, email the answers to the following questions:

  1. Why did you choose to read this article?
  2. What did you learn from the article?
  3. What did you think about the article?

Online newspapers:,,, or any other e-publication from a Spanish-speaking country.

You should also read a short story of your choice in Spanish and be ready to share your thoughts about it during the first week of classes.

Honors Chinese 4

Students should watch one or two Chinese movies and be able to verbally describe the movies in Chinese as well as explain their cultural significance. During the first week of class students will be asked to share about the films in class.



There is a significant amount of material to cover prior to the AP exams next May. Being successful is the result of thoughtful preparation and consistent effort on the part of both you and your teacher. We ask that you begin this process during the summer by reviewing topics covered in your previous courses. In addition, please check this page for detailed information pertaining to your class. You can expect to be tested on the assigned material during the first week of classes.

AP Chemistry

Teachers will be in touch with students over the summer regarding AP Chemistry coursework.

AP Physics

No summer coursework.

AP Psychology

No summer coursework.

AP Biology

The AP Biology course will begin with a rapid review of basic chemistry and biological information that students should be familiar with as part of their prerequisite course of study. In support of your review you will need to read Chapters 1 through 4 in the textbook. This information will be tested during the first week of the course. For the 2016-17 school year we will be using Campbell – Biology in Focus (AP Edition: ISBN 978-0-13-310217-8). This book has been recently written and is in the first edition which coincides with the recently redesigned AP Biology curriculum. In addition, registration instructions and a login code for the companion website, which includes a free electronic interactive text, will be sent (as soon as they are available) to all approved, enrolled students via Williston email by the course instructor.

AP Environmental Science

A) Read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
There are many study guides available on the internet. Pick one and use it to help you understand the messages in her book. Be prepared to engage in a thoughtful, knowledgeable discussion as well as take a quiz on the content on the first day of class.

B) Complete the required reading and questions from our text book. You must have this particular edition:

Friedland, Andrew and Relyea, Rick
Environmental Science for AP* Second Edition Copyright 2015
W.H. Freeman and Company/BFW New York, NY
ISBN-10: 1-4641-0868-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4641-0868-6

  1. Read and take notes on Unit 1. This includes Chapter 1 (Environmental Science: Studying the State of our Earth) and Chapter 2 (Environmental Systems)
  2. Complete the Chapter 1 AP Environmental Science Practice Exam Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) 1-11 and Free-Response Questions (FRQs) 1-2 on pages 28 and 29.
  3. Complete the Chapter 2 AP Environmental Science Practice Exam Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) 1-14 and Free-Response Questions (FRQs) 1-2 on pages 58-60.

Middle School English

7th Grade book list

Book One:

  • Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl

Writing Assignment:

Pretend you are Beryl’s father, Captain Clutterbuck. Write a letter to the headmaster of Beryl’s new school explaining why you are proud of Beryl and why you are concerned about her. Include examples of Beryl’s actions in the novel to support your feelings. (You may type or write the letter.)

Book Two:

Choose a book (one you have not read before) from the list below. After reading, write some informal notes about the book so that you will be prepared to share your ideas in class. These notes could include something you liked or disliked about the book, something you learned, questions you had when you finished reading, etc.

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  • A Step from Heaven by An Na
  • Echo by Pam Muñez Ryan
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

8th Grade Book List

Choose two books from the following list and read them before school starts in September. For each book you choose, select two passages (a significant group of sentences or a paragraph) that are intriguing, complex, and worthy of further analysis. These analytical passages should differ from ones that are simply exciting moments in the plot. This type of identification in itself demonstrates analytical abilities and is a practice often used in classes during the year. The passages will be used for in-class discussions and writing assignments when you return to school. We will do the preparation and writing in class, so there is no writing component during the summer months.

  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven
    by Mitch Albom
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
  • Walkabout by James Vance Marshall
  • My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
  • The Shack by William Young
  • Any Agatha Christie novel
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

You may choose to read one Louis L'Amour novel from the following list of three. These are action and adventure novels. Be sure to read the blurbs on Amazon or the jacket covers before making your choice: The Last of the Breed, Sitka, or The Californios.

Middle School Mathematics


7th graders enrolled in Pre-Algebra do not have summer math work.

Algebra Standard or Algebra Honors

Students taking Algebra Standard or Algebra Honors are required to complete the problems on the mathematics website.

Click here to access the Math Summer Practice.

Optional Departmental Recommendations

More titles can be found at Follow the link for Suggested Reading.

Visual and Performing Arts

  • Art and Max by David Wiesner
  • The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
  • Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman
  • Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

History and Global Studies

  • Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • The Garden of Martyrs by Michael C. White
  • A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer DuBois ’02
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • A Border Passage by Leila Ahmed
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Baraka (film), directed by Ron Fricke

Languages: Films


  • Entre Nos directed by Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza, NR


  • Le Petit Nicolas, directed by Lauren Tirard, PG


  • The Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome, Discovery Channel documentary narrated by John Shrapnel, 2004


  • Mulan, directed by Tony Bancroft, G


  • Fantasia Mathematica by Clifton Fadiman, ed.
  • The Mathematical Magpie by Clifton Fadiman, ed.
  • Proof by David Auburn


  • Backyard Ballistics by William Gurstelle
  • Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams, Diet of Worms by Stephen J. Gould
  • The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments by George Johnson
  • The Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif and F. Gonzalez-Crussi
  • What is Life? by Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan

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Founded in 1841, Williston is a student-centered, coeducational institution comprising a Middle School of day students and an Upper School of boarding and day students from 25 states and 27 countries.
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