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Summer Reading Letter to All Upper School Families

May 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Each year we ask our students to continue their learning through the summer. Because we believe that acquiring knowledge, exercising intellectual curiosity, and reading for aesthetic pleasure are activities that should not cease in the summer months, the English Department provides a summer reading list for all Upper School students. Please note the required reading for each form, as those texts will be used in class discussions and assessments at the start of the school year.  All summer reading lists, directions, and materials can be found on our website:  

Form III:  Students entering Form III (Grade 9) will read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie (ISBN:  9780316013697). They are also required to read ONE additional book from the list of ten recommended ninth-grade books, which is available on the Pingry website. 

Form IV:  Students entering Form IV (Grade 10) will read Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (ISBN:  978-0385722209).  They are also required to read ONE additional book from the list of recommended tenth-grade books, which is available on the Pingry website.  

Form V:  Students entering Form V (Grade 11) will read The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, updated 2014 Penguin Classics edition (ISBN # 9780143107309).  Students are required to read the entire text, including the introduction, the preface, and the appendix to the Narrative.  Students are also required to read ONE additional book from the list of eight recommended eleventh-grade books. 

Form VI:  Students entering Form VI (Grade 12) are required to select and read TWO of the recommended titles from the list of twelfth-grade books, which is available on the Pingry website.  

Advice to students: When choosing a summer reading book, consider your interests! Does the blurb catch your attention? Look the book up on Amazon and the first few pages—is the vocabulary manageable? Do you like the writing style? Remember that some books are appealing to friends and family members, but they might not be to you, so take control of your choice!

On the suggested grade level lists, the texts marked with an asterisk would be appropriate preparation for students interested in sitting for the AP English Literature exam at the end of their junior and/or senior year. 

We encourage parents to join students in reading and discussing the books on the reading lists. And, of course, we hope you will read far beyond the lists, enjoying the freedom of time to read as much as you like.  

Have a wonderful summer!

Dr. Ann Meigs Dickerson P `22, `24
English Department Chair

Ms. Ananya Chatterji P `25
Upper School Director

Student reading in the Lower School Library