All of the other guiding questions, additional material, etc. contained on these pages are meant to give you tools to help you understand, or go deeper into, your book and prepare you to discuss it in relation to our school theme.
Choose one character who seemed particularly compelling in the story. How does the author describe him or her? Think of direct physical description (e.g. “She had short brown hair”) as well as indirect description--the way he/she reacts to conflict, for example, or the way he/she interacts with other characters.
What are some of the key conflicts in your book? Are those conflicts ever resolved? If so--how? If not, why not? How might you have solved those particular conflicts if you lived in the world of the book, keeping in mind any constraints placed on the characters from the world which they inhabit?
Think about beginnings and endings. How did the author open this particular book, and what kind of mood or tone did that beginning establish? Did you like the way it opened? Why or why not? Did you feel satisfied by the way things were resolved at the end? Why or why not? How might you have ended the book differently?
If you were to choose a single quote that represents this book for someone who has never read it, what would that quote be and why? What does it show about this book that you feel represents it well? (If you really can’t just choose one, feel free to find a few interrelated quotes.)
Consider these questions as you are reading your book. Having answers to them, with quotations from the book (cite the page number) as supporting evidence will be very helpful when it is time to discuss and assess your reading.
We respond to setbacks with renewed determination
In which situations does a character in the novel show resilience?
In what way does a character show resilience?
How would the story have changed if thatcharacter lacked resilience?
Are there instances in the story where a character lacks resilience?
Why did they make that choice?
What were the effects of that choice?
How could a show of resilience have changed the story?
We are generous and considerate of others
What is the situation where a character chooses to show kindness?
How does the character demonstrate kindness?
Are there instances where a character lacks kindness or is unkind?
What drove a character to be unkind?
What effect did this choice have?
How might the story have been different if a character had been kind at that moment?
We do the right thing even when no one is watching
How does a character act with integrity?
What is the result of their action?
In what way is that integrity tested in the story?
How might the story have changed if a character acted without integrity?
What is an instance where a character does act without integrity?
What is the result of this action?
In your opinion, why does the choice to act with integrity matter to the overall story?
We value hard work and are deliberate in what we do
How does the character show a desire to be conscientious?
To what goal is the character striving as they demonstrate conscientiousness?
Are there instances in the story where the character does not remain conscientious?
How did the character not choose to do what was right?
How did this affect the story?
If the character had been more diligent and conscientious, how would the story have changed?
Identify at least two instances where a character demonstrates any of these virtues.
How does a character demonstrate Faith, Honesty, Responsibility, or Courage?
What was the result of the action?
How might the story be different if this virtue was not demonstrated?
There are 6 books to choose from this year, including Short Fiction, Graphic Memoirs, Essays, and a Novel, in hopes that by letting you pick your book, you'll be more likely to enjoy it. Ask around (Librarians are a good choice) if you want a recommendation. If you like what you pick, you won't need the rest of this list.
Of course, for some of you, even a book entitled Book that is About Your Exact Favorite Thing in the Entire World is going to seem like homework (or a chore, or a punishment). In that case, read on...
I mean, yes, we are asking you to read a book, and that may not be a choice you'd normally make for vacation, but simply having a positive mindset about doing it will make it less painful.
If you have any questions at all as to WHY we want people to read over the summer, just ask.
Rather than trying to read the whole anthology at once, try to read a story per week.
If reading's not your favorite, try to spread it out over time; read a little bit each day instead of putting it off and having to do it all at once. 5 pages (or 15 - 20 minutes) per day will get most readers through any book on the list.
If reading isn't a normal activity for you, find a comfortable "reading spot" and associate that place with the activity of reading.
If visual reading is a struggle, listen to an Audiobook, or have a friend do a read-aloud.
If you can overcome Phone Separation Anxiety, set your mobile devices aside (unless you're reading on one, in which case, do your best to prioritize reading and minimize other features that may be distractions). If you really want to involve your device, there are lots of links on this site to help you with your book.
Reading doesn't have to be a solitary activity. Even if you aren't reading the same books, you might be able to share ideas about the themes, or someone may be able to help you understand what you are reading. You, and your friend, will get more value out of a discussion than you would if you just Schmoop. Another option: engage via GoodReads.
On that note (ha ha... puns), here's some suggestions about annotating (the additional act of taking notes on your text as you read...
WHERE do you annotate?
WHAT should you annotate?
HOW do you annotate?
WHEN should you annotate?