With parental guidance, choose a biography, autobiography, or memoir at your reading level that you have not yet read (an autobiography chronicles the author’s entire life while a memoir is a collection of memories about one specific aspect of the author’s life).
We highly recommend that you ask family and friends what nonfiction narratives they have read and whether or not they have any recommendations. Reading a book of common interest sparks conversation, strengthens relationships, and makes the process of reading more enjoyable. However, some students in the past have gone with the first pick their parents recommended without considering whether or not the topic also interested them, and in some cases, the students found their books boring. For this reason, it is important that you select a book that features a person and/or addresses a topic of interest to you. Students in the past have chosen nonfiction narratives related to sports, survival, war, career paths, family, friendship, justice, etc.
If no one is able to help you with your selection, here is a list to get you started, but be advised that not every title on this list is appropriate for young teens. It is important that both you and your parents preview the text with written reviews and helpful websites like Common Sense Media. You are also welcome to read the title the accelerated class will be reading (see below).
Please email Dan Burke if you have any questions.
Expository Writing (Honors)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
*Content warning: Some violent descriptions of war.
Writing Assignment for Both Classes
Over the course of your reading, write a minimum of five one-page journal entries (two entries during your reading of the first half of the book, two entries during the second half, and one entry after you have finished the book. These journal responses should be thoughtful reflections and responses to the text and should strive to make connections to your own life, to other stories you have read/movies you have seen, or to current or past events going on in the world. These responses should be typed and double-spaced in Times New Roman size 12 font, but you do not need a heading or header. This journal will be turned into your teacher the first week of school.
Choose any of the following prompts or questions that fit the content of your current place in the book. You may respond to more than one prompt/question in a single journal entry and even combine questions, but please do not respond to the same question(s) every time. Please write the question(s) at the top of your journal entry.
Prompts and Questions:
Why did you choose this book? How does it connect to you?
Is your reader holding your attention? If so, how? If not, why not?
Who is a character that you despise or admire at this point in your story?
Describe the most interesting thing you have learned from the book so far.
What is the most important thing the author wanted you to learn or think about while reading the book? Explain.
Describe how you can use what you learned from this book in your own life.
Describe anything or anyone you would like to know more about after reading thus far. What about this person/event intrigued you? What more would you like to know and why?
A situation in the book reminds me of something that happened to me or someone else because…
The ideas or events in this book remind me of ideas or events in (another book, movies, news) because. . .
Describe what you would change about the book (or this part of the book) and why.
The passage on page(s)_________ is an example of good writing because….
Describe how the author captured your interest or pulled you into the book.
Describe new insights or understandings you have while reading the book.
Does the title of the book have more than one meaning now that you have read this far in the book? If so, describe the different meanings.
Write a letter to one of the people described or explained in the book.
Write a letter to the author of the book in response to his/her writing.
What is different from your own understanding or culture?
What do you find most surprising or difficult to understand in your reading so far?
What life lesson(s) can be learned from this person’s story?
What part of this book inspired you in some way? Explain.
If this person impacted history, discuss what may have been different without his or her presence.
Create your own prompt and write it at the top of your journal entry.