Core 7

How to Complete your Independent Reading Requirements

Step One: Read a Book

Each trimester, you are required to read books of your choosing on your own. This is called independent reading! To get started, simply find a book that you are interested in--fiction, nonfiction, graphic novel, etc.--and read it from cover to cover.

The first part of your independent reading grade is calculated according to how many books you read. Each trimester you must commit to reading:

    • A = 3+ books
    • B = 2 books
    • C = 1 book
    • D = 1/2 book (that is, no book started was ever finished)
    • F = 0 books

Step Two: Fill Out a Slide on Your "My Independent Reading" Slideshow

The second part of your independent reading grade requires you to respond to the literature that you read by completing slides on your "My Independent Reading" slide deck. This can be found in your @lafsd.org Google Drive account. At the end of each trimester, I will be reading through all of your book slides and grading each one using the rubric below. Please read through it carefully so that you can earn that grade that you want!

Independent Reading Slideshow Rubric (7th Grade)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How much do I need to read each trimester in order to get an "A"?
  • How do I log a book that I've read?
  • Can you show me an example of a completed log?
  • What is the difference between a synopsis and a critique?
  • How do you grade the slides?
  • What if I get really far into a book but decide that I don’t like it enough to finish? Can I still log that book?
  • What if I’m in the middle of a book and I won’t finish before the end of the trimester? Can I still log it?
  • Can I read a book I’ve already read?
  • Are we allowed to read comic books, graphic novels, or game walkthroughs/guides?
  • What about fanfic, self-published novels, blogs, Wattpad, online news articles, GameFAQs, or webcomics?
  • I don't know what to read. Can you give me some recommendations?

How much do I need to read each trimester in order to get an "A"?

Each trimester you must commit to reading:

  • A = 3+ books
  • B = 2 books
  • C = 1 book
  • D = 1/2 book (that is, no book started was ever finished)
  • F = 0 books

How do I log a book that I've read?

  1. Navigate to your @lafsd Google Drive account (drive.google.com).
  2. Open your "My Independent Reading" slideshow.
  3. Copy (ctrl+c) and paste (ctrl+v) the template slide (Slide # 7) underneath your most recent entry under the current trimester.
  4. Fill out the boxes according to the directions learned in class.
  5. If you have a solid Internet connection, your changes should save automatically.

Can you show me an example of a completed log?

Certainly! Click through the slideshow below for an example of what a completed Trimester One "My Independent Reading" slide deck might look like.

My Independent Reading 2018-2019 (Teacher Example)

What is the difference between a synopsis and a critique?

What is a Book Review?

  • A book review offers a brief summary of the novel's main plot and provides a short critique of the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Let's look more closely at the book review's two main ingredients: synopsis and critique.

The Synopsis

  • This is a brief (≤ 4 sentence) summary of the novel. It's up to you to decide what elements are most important to include, but you might consider the following:
        • The name(s) of main character(s)
        • The setting
        • The initial conflict (What problem occurs at the beginning which sets the novel in motion?)
        • The main conflict (Basically, what is the protagonist trying to accomplish?)
  • Finally, don't spoil the ending!! Many readers of book reviews are interested in discovering new books to read and haven't yet read the novel you're reviewing.

The Critique

  • Your critique should be the majority of your book review--at least twice as long as your summary.
  • The critique is your personal opinion of the book and it can be positive, negative, or some combination of the two.
  • Critiques don't just voice your praise or criticism of the book, but point to specific examples to explain and support those thoughts. Your evidence can be provided by using direct quotations, paraphrasing, or both.
  • Your critique should include connections (text-to-self, text-to-text, etc.) and your personal thoughts/feelings. For example:
        • How does the author keep you engaged?
        • Is the writing effective, powerful, difficult, beautiful?
        • What themes, lessons, morals, or ideas do you think the author is exploring?
        • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book?
        • What other works (books, comics, movies, TV shows, etc.) does this novel remind you of? What is similar about them? Different?
        • Would you recommend this book to a classmate? Why or why not?

How do you grade the slides?

Take a look at "Step Two: Fill Out a Slide on Your 'My Independent Reading' Slideshow" above for a detailed rubric.

What if I get really far into a book but decide that I don’t like it enough to finish? Can I still log that book?

Yes, but only once per trimester. I call this “breaking up” with a book. You are allowed to “break up” with one book per trimester and still count that book toward your total books read. You must have gotten AT LEAST half-way through the novel and it will be tallied as 1/2 credit. For instance, if you read two books and "broke up" with one, then your total books read for the trimester is two-and-a-half.

Additionally, you must fill out a slide on your "My Independent Reading" slideshow. On that slide, you must indicate that it was your "break up" book, record how many pages read out of the total page count, and explain to me specifically why you decided not to finish it. Address the following questions in your critique: What about the story failed to keep you engaged? What scenes/chapters/characters in particular made you want to put the book down? Why wouldn’t you recommend this book to someone else?

What if I’m in the middle of a book and I won’t finish before the end of the trimester? Can I still log it?

You have two choices here:

Choice # 1: If you have not already “broken up” with a novel this trimester, you can count this book as your “break up” book. You must still fill out a slide based on what you’ve read so far in order to receive credit. If you decide to finish it in the next trimester, the same rules apply: that will be your "break-up" book, you'll fill out a second slide in the following trimester about the ending, and the book will count as 1/2 books read.

Choice # 2: You can finish this book in second or third trimester and log the entire in one of those trimesters instead.

Can I read a book I’ve already read?

Yes, but I would encourage you to check out new books. There are several ways to do this:

NOTE: Ms. Pledger's Class website provides general information. While these sites have been reviewed for content, the completeness, timeliness, and availability of linked data are not known. Please use judgment while surfing the Internet.

Are we allowed to read comic books, graphic novels, or game walkthroughs/guides?

YES! So long as your book has been published by a publishing house, you are free to read, review, and log it!

What about fanfic, self-published novels, blogs, Wattpad, online news articles, GameFAQs, or webcomics?

Unfortunately, no If you are a fan of these art forms, I encourage you to continue reading them because they are enriching, edifying, and often entertaining. However, you won't be able to count these towards your Independent Reading books.

I don't know what to read. Can you give me some recommendations?

NOTE: Ms. Pledger's Class website provides general information. While these sites have been reviewed for content, the completeness, timeliness, and availability of linked data are not known. Please use judgment while surfing the Internet.