Summer Reading

Quick Links

The English Department encourages all grade 9-12 WHS students to do some reading over the summer. Reading helps students to:

  • Enjoy a good book
  • Remain intellectually challenged
  • Avoid the summer slide (start the school year reading at the same level as when they left)
  • Prepare for critical reading and analytic skills needed on AP/ACT/SAT exams
  • Be prepared for college and career goals

PARENTS: Summer reading books will not be taught or guided with in-class instruction. PLEASE take time to review your student's book choice to ensure that the content is appropriate with your family needs.

If you are taking Honors/AP/CIS (grades 9-12) courses, we strongly encourage students to read books that are listed for courses they will take this fall. You can earn academic extra credit during the first three weeks of trimester 1 by completing relevant tasks correspondent to each course-determined assessment.  

Coronavirus Update: Usually summer reading is optional for English 9-12 but required for the Honors/AP/CIS courses. However, we are making 2020 summer reading optional for all English classes including Honors/AP/CIS due to the coronavirus outbreak and logistical concerns.

If you need support in reading or finding books, please contact: Cori Thomson ( Director of Achievement and Integration; or Leah Boulos ( 833 District Literacy Specialist.

The Woodbury High School English Department looks forward to working with you in the fall.

Finding Your Book

A number of E-Book services provide free or lower cost contemporary E-Books by signing up with an email. Or, you may choose to purchase your own copy of a summer reading book.

Websites to Obtain Free to Read E-books

 Locations to Purchase Summer Reading Books

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Half Price Books (Maplewood)

English 9, English 10, English 11, English 12

Students in these classes can earn academic extra credit during the first week of trimester 1 for their summer reading. Simply complete a culminating assessment such as a book talk, in-class essay, or other relevant teacher/department determined assessment. As you read, consider taking notes, keeping a personal response journal, or using sticky notes to mark passages.

We suggest that you read something new. Read something that will challenge your reading and comfort level. Most importantly, read something that you are interested in. You may choose from fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels or other forms.  

Honors English 9

Welcome to your freshman year in English. We look forward to working with you and we offer the following summer reading list as an introduction to our class. We SUGGEST that you read one of the novels listed below over the summer. However, Honors 9 students may choose works beyond what is listed; we want you to expand your breadth and familiarity with literature. You will need to obtain your own copy of any book you choose. As you read, please pay special attention to a character who you admire or who inspires you. Also, pay attention to a theme that you can make a connection with.

TASK: Journal and annotate the text using post-it notes, highlighter (if keeping the text), or using your own note paper for new vocabulary, concepts, characters and traits, thematic ideas, and your own personal connections and responses.

  • Dracula, Bram Stoker
  • Something Wicked this Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  • I am Malala, Malala Yoursafzai
  • Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Ablom
  • Peace Like a River, Leif Enger

Honors English 10

We SUGGEST that Honors English 10 students read two books over the summer: one fiction and one non-fiction books from the following list. Honors 10 students may choose works beyond what is listed; we want you to expand your breadth and familiarity with literature. We will ask you about your summer reading during the first weeks of school. We encourage you to use some form of note-taking, sticky notes, or journal/personal response as you read. Be prepared for assessment in the form of discussion, in-class writing, and project work with be within the first 5 days of trimester 1.


  • The Bean Trees
  • Bless Me, Ultima
  • A Lesson Before Dying
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Color Purple
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • In the Time of Butterflies
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • Brave New World
  • Slaughterhouse Five
  • Things Fall Apart
  • Invisible Man


  • Lynchings in Duluth
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Autobiography of a Face
  • The Glass Castle
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
  • Warriors Don’t Cry
  • Fast Food Nation
  • The Tipping Point
  • Nickel and Dimed
  • The Devil in the White City
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a
  • Part-Time Indian
  • Same Kind of Different as Me

AP Language and Composition 11

We SUGGEST that AP Language & Composition students read ONE of the following 3 texts: Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, Me Talk Pretty by David Sedaris, or Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Download PDF or audio files for these works below.

Students will write an essay addressing major themes and/or rhetorical strategies within the first 5 days of the trimester 1.
NOTE: You must have a email account to download the PDF files.

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X PDF Audio
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day PDF Audio
  • Man’s Search for Meaning PDF

AP Literature and Composition 12

We SUGGEST that AP Literature & Composition students read the read Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (see link below)

Hand-write and thoroughly complete the Major Works Data Sheet (MWDS) linked below, for Great Expectations. Submit your Major Works Data Sheet within the first week of the trimester 1.

College in the Schools: Writing Studio

We SUGGEST that CIS: Writing Studio students read Harold Bauld’s On Writing the College Application Essay, available below as a PDF. Read the book and using the essay you wrote junior year (or write a new one),  annotate 5 places where you used suggestions from the book. Provide completed work within the first week of the trimester. If you have any further questions, email Ms. Erika Jungwirth.

On Writing the College Application Essay (CAE), Harold Bauld. NOTE: You must have a email account to download the PDF files.