UPDATE: Independent Reading Reflections

Beginning this week, in addition to your weekly minimum of two hours of reading, you’ll also reflect in writing on what you’ve read.


Each Monday, come to class with a 1+ page personal reflection on your reading from that week. Think of this writing as an opportunity to “take stock” of important moments in the text. How will you know what moments are important? Apply the Notice and Note signposts we discussed in class this week. You may want to have a few sticky notes in your book that you can use to mark scenes that are worth exploring in more detail – scenes that are “worth writing about.”

For ideas on what to write, consult your orange Notice and Note chart, especially the questions that correspond to each signpost. Please note that if you want to write about something that is not directly related to one of the signposts, feel free! Your weekly reflections should emerge from your personal reactions to the text. Most of the time, one of the six signposts will apply since they appear in so many different stories (as we saw in our discussions).

The key in your reflections is to reflect in an inferential or critical manner (not literal). Do not just describe or summarize what happened; instead, explore why what happened may be significant in the story (the signposts).

Your reflections and reading progress (have you made your weekly page goal?) will be checked each Monday. Remember, your reflection is due at the beginning of class every Monday (or IR day).

Your first reflection is due Monday, October 12.

And We’re Off―Independent Reading Begins!

This week we start with the first of many reading workshop days this year. We will read every Monday during the first semester. Some important reminders and guidelines:

  • You are required to read a minimum of two focused hours per week. This includes the time you take in class to read. This is non-negotiable. Treat your reading time as you would any other homework.

Weekly Reading

  • How much you read (quantity) is personalized to you and your book. Be sure to calculate an accurate reading rate when you begin any new book to determine how many pages you should be able to read. You should meet or beat your goal each week. That’s how you know you are staying on track in your growth as a reader. I will be checking each week to help you stay on track.

If you find you no longer want to read your current book, you are welcome to “put the book on pause” and find something more interesting for you. If this happens, simply log “pause” in the “actual finish date” on personal IR log (purple sheet).

Reading rate

  • If you finish your book mid-week, begin another. Don’t forget to take your reading rate and set your weekly goals for that book. Consult your “on-deck” list. There’s also a list of “Recommended Reading” on this website (Click “Meet Your Next Favorite Book” on the right).
  • Log all finished books in the Independent Reading Log online (under Honors World Lit tab).
  • Beginning in October, you will be required to write weekly reflections in your notebook. Details about that will be given out later.

For your convenience, a step-by-step list of reminders for what to do as you read can be found online under Quick Links > Reading > Independent Reading: What To Do As You Read.

Happy reading!!! Just make sure you read responsibly and safely (see video below). 🙂

Reader’s Memoir

In a brief, well-developed essay, reflect on your experiences as a reader. You may focus on a particularly meaningful reading experience—either in school or out—or you can provide a general overview. As such, essays can range in focus and scope, depth and breadth. Your essay should, however, address significant works you’ve read and give me a better idea, overall, of the kind of reader you are. After reading your essay, your attitudes and experiences about reading should be clear to your audience. Your essay should not be a list of works you’ve read, but rather a reflection on those works that have played a significant role in your development as a reader, in a positive or negative way.

This is a personal essay; your voice emerges through thoughtful choice of words and sentence structures. Be sure that each paragraph is focused (avoid writing the “one-paragraph essay”). Consider telling a story, giving a well-chosen example, comparing and contrasting, providing a definition of what makes a good book to you, etc. At least half of the time you spend working on this essay should be focused on reflection.

Be prepared to share (read aloud) your essay in whole or in part with the class on the due date. 1 ½ to 2 pages, double-spaced.

Consider addressing the following questions in your essay. The best essays will touch on most of the questions below while focusing/developing one or two of the questions in more detail.

  • What type of reader are you?
  • What types of books do you like to read? Why? (Consider your reading trees!)
  • What types of books do you not like to read? Why?
  • Why do you read? For what purpose or goal? (Remember our angles? Do any fit you?)
  • What experiences have shaped your attitudes towards reading? (Look in your notebook at what you wrote in class.)
  • What is your earliest memory of reading?
  • Overall, what does “reading” mean to you?

On Wed-Fri this week, we spent some time in class pre-writing and brainstorming for this essay. Again, our first pre-writing activity―drawing our reading trees―should help you think about the types of reading you’ve done in your life. See below for a draft of my own reading tree (remember to leave yourself at least two pages in your notebook for this tree―we’ll be adding to it throughout the year!):

reading tree

If you need additional inspiration or to see an example of how to write about a specific meaningful book in your life, read the last few paragraphs below. This is an excerpt from an essay by author Kate Walbert about how Charlotte’s Web changed her reading life.

IMG_1388 (1)

Below, you can read what The Little Engine that Could meant to journalist Jeff Benedict, both as a child and as an adult.

IMG_1389 (1)

IMG_1390 (1)

And finally, feel free to read my own reader’s memoir that I wrote especially for this assignment. You can find my personal example by clicking here.


(Don’t forget that you also need to bring in your IR book to class that day!)

A Year in Our Reading Lives: An Infographic

As the culminating project for their 9th grade year, my students created an infographic to represent their year in reading. They included the 9 books they read as part of the course (our “whole class” novels) and then any additional books they completed as part of our independent reading endeavors. I’m so incredibly proud of the reading they accomplished, and I think the highlights in the gallery below speak for themselves:

(Click here to see assignment details.)