ALL LATEWORK, MAKEUP WORK, AND ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE MARCH 21ST
INCLUDING THE INDEPENDENT READING REQUIREMENT ASSIGNMENT (SEE BELOW OR CLASS HANDOUT), PART 1 (THE LETTER ESSAY IN YOUR WRITER’S NOTEBOOK) & PART 2 (POSTING YOUR BOOK REVIEW AND A RESPONSE ON THE CLASS WEBSITE).
7 March 2017
PART 1: Letter-Essay (Independent Reading Requirement Assignment)
This is an opportunity to consider books, reading, authors, and writing. You’ll think about your books in informal essays directed to me, and later, to friends—and we’ll write back to you about your ideas and observations. Our letter-essays and responses will become a record of the reading, thinking, learning, and teaching we accomplished together.
Each letter-essay should be at least two pages long and written as a personal, critical response to the book—in other words, not a series of paragraphs about a series of books, but a long look at one that intrigues you.
Before you write, look back over your reading record. Which title that you’ve finished would be most enjoyable to revisit as a fan? What book that you abandoned—or remained hopeful about to the bitter end—would be the most enjoyable to revisit in a slam? Once you’ve decided, return to the book. Skim it, and select at least one passage you think is significant, in terms of how you reacted to the book’s theme, problem, character development, or plot arc, or to the author’s style. Choose a chunk of text that you think shows something essential. In your letter essay, quote—copy—the passage you chose, and write about what you think it shows about the book, the author, or your response to either.
What else might you do in your letter-essay? Tell about your experience as a reader of the book. Describe what you think the themes might be. Tell what surprised you. Pose your wonderings—your questions about the author, the characters, the structure, the voice, and yourself as a reader. Try the sentence openers I provided to help get you thinking and writing. Be aware that a good letter-essay is one that teachers you something you didn’t realize about your book, or yourself as a reader, before you wrote it.
Once you’ve written it, complete Part 2 of the Independent Reading Requirement Assignment. Date your letter-essays in the upper left-hand corner, and use a conventional greeting (Dear____,) and closing (Love, Your Friend, Sincerely,). Always cite the name of the author of the book and its title. Indicate the title by capitalizing and underlining it—for example Fahrenheit 541 by Ray Bradbury.
I’m excited for us to begin reading and thinking about literature together in this serious-but-friendly way. I’m excited for your first letter-essays and the chance to learn from you, learn with you, and help you learn more about the power and pleasures of books.
- Your thoughts and feelings on the book.
- Do you like it? Not like it? Why or why not?
- What do you think about the characters?
- What parts of the book do you like?
- Why did you choose to read that book?
- Is there any part of the book that you are having a hard time understanding? Are there hard words, or is the writing confusing?
- What do you think is going to happen next in the book?
- Plans for what you are going to read next?
Part 2: Commentary and Response on class website
- Look at our class website (sorensenenglish.com) and find your class from the drop down menu.
- Look for the post called “How to Post” and read the directions on there.
- Find the post labeled with your class period.
- Post your Independent Reading Commentary on your class period’s post. Commentaries should be at least 300 words. (Suggestion: use the really good parts of your letter-essay to construct your commentary.)
- And finally, respond to a classmate’s post. Responses should be at least 150 words.
- Try to comment on someone’s post that hasn’t been commented on yet.
- Try to comment on a book that you’ve read, or one that you find interesting or possibly disagree with or didn’t like in some way.