10 Things You Can Do to Prepare for the Year
1. Listen to The Count of Monte Cristo podcasts (there are three, titled “Among Friends,” “Prisoner,” and “Fourteen Years Gone”) from Fictional.
We will read The Count of Monte Cristo in the fall semester, and while students often enjoy the tale of pirates and buried treasure and revenge, the plot is intricate and challenging.
Fictional is a podcast that retells works of classic literature in a lively and humorous way. Listening to their reinterpretation of The Count of Monte Cristo will make reading the novel much easier for you later on.
You can listen to these episodes on your computer, or you can download them through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Stitcher and listen on a mobile device.
2. Set up a vocabulary.com account.
You can use it to practice words from your two summer reading books, and you should be able to keep the same account during the school year, when we will be using it frequently.
3. Browse a used bookstore for copies of the major works that we will be reading during the upcoming year.
These are the books that you might want to have your own copy of:
- The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
- The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (be careful — you want this abridged edition, not the full text!
- Dracula, by Bram Stoker (the Dover thrift edition, if you can find it)
- The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston
- The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
4. Review grammar and prepare for the SAT by using Khan Academy.
You can make a free account and practice for the PSAT and the SAT.
5. Keep a journal.
Get in the habit of writing regularly! It doesn’t need to be anything formal or fancy, just a place for you to have fun with using language.
6. Watch the new Hot Zone mini-series on National Geographic.
The Hot Zone will be one of our major texts during the year, and National Geographic is turning it into a TV show that you can watch over the summer.
7. Learn about the places we will be “travelling” over the course of the year.
In 9th grade, you will most likely also be taking World Geography, and our literature for the year complements that by spanning the globe. We’ll learn about Ancient Greece when we read the Odyssey, 19th and 20th century China as we read The Joy Luck Club, Napoleonic France in The Count of Monte Cristo, Victorian England and Eastern Europe in Dracula, and sub-Saharan Africa in The Hot Zone. Anything that you can learn about these places through articles, documentaries, museum visits, etc., will help you to appreciate the literature that is set there.