Quarter 1: Analyzing Author’s Choices

Use chosen prompts once during the quarter.
1. Find a passage that uses imagery and details to describe a
character, setting or event. Draw the scene and label it with
text details on one page. Then analyze how the description
develops the theme/main ideas or signals the author’s tone (1
page drawing, 1 page writing).

The reading journal is a place to practice writing
connected to a text you have chosen to read. What
does that mean exactly? It means that you will put a
passage from your book on the left side of a twopage spread in your journal and write about that
passage on the right side of the two-page spread in
your journal.

2. Examine how your author uses types of details to develop
an idea, character or setting.

Note book information at the top of the page in
MLA format like so:

3. Add a scene to the book you are reading. Try to imitate the
author’s style and use of details. On the left paste text that
would come right before the scene you create.

Green, John. Papertowns. NY: NY: Penguin, 2009.

4. Analyze the author’s use of tropes (artful diction) to create
character, set mood, establish setting or develop theme.
5. Analyze a character from your book embodies vices and
virtues. How does the character represent a particular
vice/virtue? How is the character a realistic or unrealistic
blend of vices and virtues?
6. Write to explain how the author develops a theme of the
book of you are reading. Be sure to cite specific examples
(snippets of quotes) from the book that illustrate the theme.
7. Many writers use setting to establish values or express tone.
For example, a rural/country setting may be a place of peace
and beauty or one of ignorance and isolation. Explain how
setting plays a significant role in the book you are reading.
8. Some books serve as advocates for change regarding social
issues. Analyze a work you have read using the lens of an
activist. Describe the issue and how characters’ thoughts,
actions or deeds work to change it.
9. Write to explain a topic, issue, phenomena mentioned in
your book. This one will require some research. Then imagine
you are writing a video script explaining the concept to others.
10. Investigate the author of the book you are reading. Visit
his or her website. Learn a bit about the writer. Then write to
explain how the author’s life or life events relate to the story
being told in the book.
*challenge prompts*
11. Everything is a quest, so says Foster in chapter one of How
to Read Literature Like a Professor. Analyze the book you are
reading using an archetypal lens—apply the steps in the hero’s
journey to the book you are reading. See me for a handout to
help you.
12. How would a feminist or a historian analyze characters,
elements, scenes or themes in your book? Choose a critical
perspective and apply it to the book you are reading. See me
for a handout to help you.

Get the passage you will use a jumping off point
into your journal by photocopying it, photographing
it, typing it, writing (part or most) of it or printing it
(from online).

Left Side

Right Side

-Note the book
-Glue in a passage or
-Annotate the passage—
show evidence of your
active reading.

-Make a claim about the
passage/book at the top.
-Write body paragraphs
citing textual evidence to
support your claim.
-Cite page numbers in
parenthesis for evidence
you pull from the book.

Weekly Requirements:
Read up to or beyond your weekly page amount
Record your pages read on our Reading Record
(shared Google Document).
Write one piece per week (2 pages in length).
Paste/copy the text on the left.
Annotate the passage on the left side of your RJ.
Write about the text/passage on the right side of RJ.
Cite textual evidence to support your claims and
ideas in each paragraph.
Include citation information at the top of the page
above the passage from the book.