AP Language

Foothill High School

AP English Language and Composition

2021 Summer Reading Assisgnment


Contact: Mr. Hershberger -

The teaching team welcomes you to Advanced Placement English Language and Composition!
We are delighted that you have elected to take AP English next year. We believe that you will find the course to be challenging, enlightening, and a wonderful introduction to the college learning environment.
AP English Language and Composition is an intensive study of rhetoric and how language works. Through close reading of texts arranged by theme, students develop their ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate language and text with a greater awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening their own composition abilities. Course readings feature an
extensive variety of nonfiction texts, speeches, essays, and American literature.
AP English Language and Composition is a challenging and rigorous college-level course that investigates the uses, purposes, and effects of language. The College Board has identified two primary goals of the course.

Major Course Goals

1. Developing critical literacy
2. Facilitating informed citizenship

In order to prepare you for the material and skills you will encounter throughout the year, we are requiring you to participate in this compulsory summer reading assignment. In keeping with the focus of this course, the assigned reading for the summer comes from nonfiction text. Its purpose is to introduce you to key principles and ideas that you will find indispensable, especially in the first weeks of the course.


Speech Triangle


1. Read and annotate Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs (2017 third edition or 2020 fourth edition).
This book will introduce you to the essential theory of rhetoric with ample examples and
applications for work, school, and your personal life. Heinrichs writes in a conversational
tone, but he also provides a master class in rhetoric and how to use it to be a more influential
and persuasive speaker and writer, as well as a more shrewd and discerning reader, listener,
and consumer of information. Give yourself at least a week to read this book at a relaxed
pace; it is chock-full of information, so you will not want to read it in only two or three
sittings. Do not become overwhelmed or discouraged by the liberal helping of Greek and
Latin terminology provided in the book; your understanding of the concepts these terms
describe is more important than the words themselves (although it wouldn’t hurt to master
ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos).
As you read, please take purposeful, focused notes on the principles of argument, major
rhetorical appeals, and several useful argument strategies. You may take these notes directly
in the book’s pages or on a separate document. After you finish the reading, you can use the
review questions in the back of the book to check your understanding of key concepts and
terms. While we recommend that you read the book in its entirety, the content of only the
following chapters will be tested in the first week or so of school (focus your note-taking on
these chapters): Preface, 1-9, 11-16, 21, 24, 26, 28, 30.

2. Write a reflection letter in response to your reading of Thank You for Arguing.
After reading and annotating the entirety of Heinrichs’s book, write an approximately two- to three- page reflection as outlined below. Be sure to format your document according to MLA guidelines and conventions for a letter; this includes double-spacing, one-inch margins, 12-point font, and an appropriate greeting and closing. Because this is a personal reflection, you should use first-person pronouns in your writing. This response should comprise multiple paragraphs (each part may be one or more paragraphs) and address the following questions in a coherent, reflective letter:

a. Part 1: Personal introduction: Introduce yourself. Describe yourself as a person
and as a student. What are some of your interests? Why did you decide to take
AP English this year? How did last year go, and what are some of your hopes and
fears/concerns for this year?

b. Part 2: Major reading takeaways: How would you define rhetoric? What
surprised you about rhetoric and persuasion? Describe a couple rhetorical moves
or principles that impressed you. Is any of the information you gleaned from your
reading a game-changer for how you will speak, write, listen, watch, or go about
your daily life? Please explain.

c. Part 3: Conclusion: What questions do you have after reading this book? What
do you predict about this class based on the summer reading? What final
thoughts would you like to share with your teacher?
You will submit your typed reflection to on the first Friday of school

Image of Thank You for Arguing book cover