Welcome to ELA I Pre-AP and your 2017-2018 Summer Reading Assignment!  

Summer reading provides an avenue for Pre-AP students to activate academic skills during the summer and to launch academic progress at the beginning of the school year in English classes. I share your passion for reading and academic excellence and am excited you are taking the opportunity to begin your college preparation with me.  I set very high expectations for my students with the thought that you are prepared to work hard and learn!

You will be reading the novel, "Bruiser" written by Neal Shusterman for your summer reading. The literary terms you will focus on are Theme, Tone, Plot, Author's Purpose, and Sensory Language.  You will be reading closely and critically to get a deeper understanding of fictional literature.  You will be creating a dialectical journal along with analyzing diction and syntax. 

Instructions on creating a dialectical journal:  

Dialectical Journal Instructions: Assignment 1

(You will need to purchase a composition journal to complete this assignment.)

  1. Title the top of the first page of your journal the name of the novel.
  2. Read each character's section; you will respond after each character's chapters
  3. Divide your paper into two columns by drawing a line down the middle of the page.
  4. Label the left side Passage and the right side Response.
  5. Passage side: Copy a meaningful passage from the book (dialogue, a description, or a character’s thoughts).  Include the page number in the margin.
  6. Response side: Write your response to the passage – What does it mean to you? Why did you choose it? Did it puzzle or confuse you? Remind you of something? Where have you seen this character before? If you choose to comment on a personal experience, be sure to connect it to what is happening in the novel at that point.
  7. Your journal for the novel should have 11 responses from throughout the book, so pace yourself.
  8. These entries are NOT a summary or paraphrasing of your reading – it is a response to the passage.
  9. A good, thoughtful, developed response should be at least five sentences.
  10. Do not wait until you finish the novel to write your responses. The responses should reflect what you are
    thinking as you read the novel, not what you think when you are finished.

Assignment 2:  Use the novel and the following information to answer the questions below.  The pages that follow expand the details of DIDLS and will help you answer the questions clearly and thoroughly by using specific examples from the text.  You will write and answer the questions in your composition after you have completed your dialectical journal.

Show off your analytical skills and make commentary about the DIDLS. DIDLS is an acronym for Diction, Imagery, Details, Language, and Syntax:

  1. Diction: What striking words did the author choose in this quote and how did choosing those particular words affect the story?
  2. Imagery: How did the author appeal to your five senses in this quote and why is this imagery important to the story?
  3. Details: What specific details did the author include or exclude and how does that affect your perception of what’s going on?
  4. Language: How would you describe the style of speech in the quote (informal, formal, humorous, something else)? Why do you think the author uses this type of language in this quote?
  5. Syntax: Do you notice anything striking about the way the sentences are structured in this quote? Are they long, eloquent, and fluid, or are they short, choppy, and abrupt? Why do you think the author wrote sentences like this in this quote?

By using DIDLS you should be able to answer the following questions:

What atmosphere (effect upon the reader) is created by the selection?

What tone (author’s attitude toward the subject) does the selection have?

To what overall theme/lesson does the relationship between these elements lead the reader?


Imagery is an appeal to the five senses (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch). Images help convey theauthor’s attitude and tone.

 To analyze imagery, find descriptions and figurative language that appeals to the senses.

 When interpreting imagery, some questions you should ask yourself are:

  o What imagery does the author use, and to what senses do these appeal?

o What does he/she focus on in a sensory way? Is there one more than the others?

o How do the kinds of images the author puts in or leaves out reflect his/her style?

o Are the images vibrant? Prominent? Plain?o Why did the author choose this particular image?

o What sound devices (i.e., alliteration, assonance, consonance, repetition) does the author use,and what effect do these have on meaning?

o How does this image affect this piece of literature?

NOTE: Images differ from detail in the degree to which they appeal to the senses

Diction is the author’s word choice, and it includes connotation (the suggested meaning of a word) and denotation (the literal meaning of the word). Diction guides the meaning an author wants thereader to take away from the text.

 To analyze diction, find noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective phrases, or specific words that jumpout at you

 When interpreting diction, some questions you should ask yourself are:

o Why did the author choose that word over that word?

o How does the author’s word choice affect my understanding?

o What was the author’s motive in choosing this specific word or phrase?

o What is the relationship of word choice to the author’s purpose and the effectiveness of the piece?

DIDLS Defined:

Language is the entire body of words in a piece of text. This is not the same as diction, which involves merely isolated examples of words. The language used in a text helps shape it as a whole.

 To analyze language, look at the diction collectively, the level of vocabulary, and how the words are all functioning together.

 When interpreting language, some questions you should ask yourself are:

o What is the overall impression of the language the author uses?

o Does it reflect education? A particular profession?

o Is it plain? Ornate? Simple? Clear? Figurative? Poetic?

 Consider overall use of language. Is it...?

                        Colloquial (slang)                                                Old-fashionedInformal (conversational) 

                        Formal (literary)                                                   Connotative (suggestive meaning) 

                        Denotative (exact meaning)                              Concrete (specific)      

                        Abstract (general or conceptual)                     Euphonious (pleasant sounding) 

                       Cacophonous (harsh sounding)                        Monosyllabic (one syllable) 

                      Polysyllabic (more than one syllable)

Details are facts that help color an otherwise drab “picture” for the reader. Details give life to characters, settings, and situations. It is through details that the reader is able to form precise mental images.

 To analyze detail, look at the specific facts the author choose to include or omit

 When interpreting details, some questions you should ask yourself are:

o What details does the author choose to include? What does the author choose to exclude?

o What do they imply?

o What are the connotations of his/her choice of details?

NOTE: Details are facts or fact-lets. They differ from images in that they don’t have a strong sensory appeal

Syntax is the way sentences are structured and the way they are crafted.

 To analyze syntax, look for varied uses of punctuation, paragraph divisions, sentence length, and sharp contrasts in diction. Also you should look for patterns.

 When interpreting syntax, some questions you should ask your are:

o What are the sentences like? Are the simple with one or two clauses? Do they have multiplephrases? Are they choppy?     Flowing? Why are some sentences long? Why are some short?

o Is there a variety of sentence structure (simple, compound, complex, compound-complex)?

o Does the author use specialized sentence variety, such as inverted word order, parallel structure,balance, etc.?

o How does the sentence structure affect the reader?

o What emotional impression do they leave?

o How does it affect the text?

o What purpose does the structure of various sentences serve?

The construction of sentences to convey attitude:

o Declarative assertive—a statement

o Imperative authoritative—command

o Interrogative- asks a question

o Simple sentence- one subject and one verb

o Loose sentence details after the subject and verb—happening now

o Periodic sentence details before the subject and verb—reflection on a past event

o Juxtaposition normally unassociated ideas, words or phrases placed next together

o Parallelism show equal ideas; for emphasis; for rhythm

o Repetition words, sounds and ideas used more than once—rhythm

o Rhetorical question a question that expects no answer

Punctuation is included in syntax:

o Ellipses a trailing off, equally etc.; going off into a dreamlike state

o Dash interruption of a though; an interjection of a thought into another

o Semicolon parallel ideas; equal ideas; a piling up of detail

o Colon a list a definition or explanation; a result

o Italics for emphasis

o Capitalization for emphasis

o Exclamation point for emphasis; for emotion

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me!! I will get back to you ASAP!!  All written assignments are due the first day of class. You will also choose a Teen Top Ten book to read and take an RC test over.  You may take the RC tests within the first 3 days of first week of school. Failure to complete any of these assignments will mean you will exit my class and be moved into a regular ELA class.

Happy reading,

Emily Watson