How to Keep a Literary Journal

  • Summer Reading Assignment: Pick two, excellent books this summer. Read them. Write about them so that you don't forget what you read when you come back to school.


    Click here for the English Department's Summer Reading Page. 

    Go here to access a list of great, summer reads.

    WRITING ABOUT READING: How to keep a reading journal

    Freewrite. Write whatever comes to mind without stopping! Do not censor your thoughts or edit, and don't lift your pen! 
    React/Identify. React to or identify with a character's choice. What would you have done differently? When has something similar happened to you? Register those strong feelings! Recall similar moments in films, other books, or your actual life. 
    Reflect. Muse on what you've read and imagine alternatives. Consider what the author is attempting to show you. Identify significant moments in the book, and suggest how these moments matter. 
    Questions. While reading, note in the margins (or on a post-it note) where you have questions of "genuine doubt." After your reading session write out these questions of interpretation and reflect on how they might be answered. You should find that the best questions will generate many interesting responses. 
    Anticipate. Make and remake hypotheses about your reading. Imagine how the characters will act, react, how the narrative might unfold, how the author might resolve the conflict. Prioritize. Learn to isolate those words or images that recur. (Good writers do not repeat themselves intentionally!) Copy passages that strike you as important, and consider thematic implications. Trust your instincts. 
    Note how the author uses literary devices to further his/her objective. Be aware of how point of view, setting, language, image, symbol, and tone support the author's overall intention.