Pre-AP Summer Reading Suggestions to Prepare for AP English

AP English can be a very challenging class for many high school students as it pushes them past the typical high school reading and comprehension expectation. AP English is equivalent to college level English and in most cases passing AP English will allow many high school seniors to skip a college level English class. This saves the student a lot of money and time. However, to gain this credit, a student tyically needs a 4 or above on he AP. Therefore, adequately preparing is key in order to do well in AP English. Reading books over the summer that are at the level of AP English is a very good idea in order to prepare for AP English before senior year. Here is a list of popular books used in AP English classes that will help prepare incoming seniors for AP English.

Teacher Assigned Books

Most AP English teachers will assign an AP summer reading assignment. Some teachers also make the list of books that will be used in class available to the incoming seniors the summer before school beings in order for the students to prepare for the class. If the teacher does not provide a Pre-AP summer reading assignment then students should take the initiative to ask the teacher before the school year is over in their junior year. If this does not work then the student should ask seniors who have already taken the class which books were used during the class. If students who are about to take AP English want to take it one step further and read books on their own that have not been assigned in order to better prepare themselves then the following Pre-AP summer reading books and authors are recommended.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare


Many AP English classes use at least one play by Shakespeare for study in their curriculum. Shakespeare is a classic author and his plays offer many opportunities for discussion and analysis. Hamlet is one such play and it has many layers in plot, story, and characters. The language used in Hamlet is very difficult and it will take a little study to truly get the most out of the story. But Hamlet is a classic and it is highly recommended for Pre-AP summer reading in order to prepare for the difficult reading that is required in AP English.

Poems by Robert Frost

Robert Frost - The Poetry of Robert Frost

Robert Frost is one of the greatest and most celebrated American poets of the early 20th century. Robert Frost writes mostly about rural life and nature and how the natural world can symbolize deeper meanings and can teach people valuable lessons about life. Most of his poems have dark and sad meanings to them. His poems are rich with imagery, meaning, and metaphoric language and offer great opportunities to build skills in poetry analysis. Students should choose a poem that they like (he wrote many) and to break it down in order to work on their poetry analysis skills. Some recommended poems are The Road Not Taken, Out, Out, and, Mowing.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

wuthering heights

Wuthering Heights is a classic story about love, romance, and revenge. It is a very character driven and engrossing story with very rich language and vocabulary. This book is a great way to learn new words and to analyze plot, character development, setting, and metaphoric language. The story of Wuthering Heights is about a boy named Heathcliff who gets adopted into a family. Catherine, the daughter of the family, falls in love with him and he with her but other matters make things complicated. It's a great story and it should be an enjoyable book for Pre-AP summer reading.

AP English can be a very difficult class to take and do well in. AP English is equivalent to college level English and the reading and studying required can be difficult. One way to make it easier is through Pre-AP summer reading. Reading some of the books mentioned in this list would help a lot in preparing for AP English.