Independent Reading

How to Complete your Independent Reading Requirements

Step One: Read a Book

Step Two: Write a Book Review

Step Three: Fill out the "Independent Reading Log Form" for Your Class Period

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How do I log a book that I've read?
  • I still don't understand how to log a book. Can you show me?
  • How do I write a book review?
  • How will I be graded?
  • Can I see an example of a book review?
  • What if I’m only 1, 5, or 10 page(s) short of the amount I need to get an A? Do I really have to read just a few more pages?
  • 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?
  • If I read a book that I’ve already read, do I have to write another review?
  • Do you actually read the book reviews that we post on Goodreads?
  • I can’t find the book I’m looking for on Goodreads. What do I do?
  • The link to my review is missing. Will I still get credit for that book?
  • 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?
  • What if I forget my Goodreads login and/or my username + password combo doesn't work?

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

Follow these steps in order to earn credit for your independent reading each trimester:

Step 1: Read a book.

Step 2: Write a book review on the assignment titled "Good Reads Reviews" available in Classroom.

Step 3: Open a new tab (ctrl+t) and navigate to Goodreads.com. Log in.

Step 4: Type the name of the book into the search bar.

Step 5: Give the book a star rating then click the "Write a Review" button when it pops up. (If you miss the button, that's okay! You can find the "Add a Review" button under the subheading "My Activity" on the book's page.)

Step 6: Click back to your Classroom tab and copy+paste the book review you wrote in your "Good Reads Reviews" doc into the box provided.

Step 7: Press the "Save" button. (Don't worry about the other information [bookshelf tags, date started]. Include only if you want to.)

Step 8: The next screen that pops up is important: I need you to copy (ctrl+c) the URL. It should read something like this: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1044689370

Step 9: With that link copied, open a new tab (ctrl+t) and navigate to www.mspledgersclass.com

Step 10: Hover over the Independent Reading tab -->English 8 --> then click on your class period.

Step 11: Fill out the Google Form with your independent reading information. Be sure to paste (ctrl+v) the Good Reads link into the appropriate box.

Step 12: Hit submit! Once submitted, your information should show up in the spreadsheet. Sometimes it takes up to 24 hours to post, so don't worry if you don't see it right away.

I still don't understand how to log a book. Can you show me?

I know that our Independent Reading program requires several confusing steps, so if you don't "get it" right away--no worries! Click through the videos below for a step-by-step tutorial and watch them as many times as you need.

How to Create a Good Reads Account

How to Log a Book Review

How do I write a book review?

Book reviews should be at least one paragraph of 5 sentences in length. Follow the guidelines below for writing your review:

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: summary and critique.

The Summary

  • State the title, author, and genre in the first sentence.
  • Continue with 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 will I be graded?

To earn credit for this category, you must complete two steps.

First, you must commit to reading:

    • Trimester 1: A = 800+ pages, B = 600 pages, C = 400 pages, D = 200 pages, F = ≤ 200 pages
    • Trimester 2: A = 1000+ pages, B = 800 pages, C = 600 pages, D = 400 pages, F = ≤ 400 pages
    • Trimester 3: A = 1200+ pages, B = 1000 pages, C = 800 pages, D = 600 pages, F = ≤ 600 pages

Second, you need to respond to the literature that you read by writing and logging book reviews. Read through the rubric below to see what minimum requirements I am looking for in each review.

Book Review Rubric

Can I see an example of a book review?

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is a compelling piece of investigative journalism about a young man stricken with insatiable wanderlust. The story begins when the main character, Chris McCandless/Alexander Supertramp, is found dead in the Alaskan wilderness some 120 days after venturing into the bush on a solo expedition to experience "savage" life. From there, Krakauer launches into a retrospective narrative, explaining the events and decisions which lead McCandless to this sad end. Reading this in my late twenties, I found myself oscillating between an emphatically heartfelt resonance with the philosophies that animated McCandless and a just as powerful desire to take him by the shoulders, shake him, and shout "You imbecile! How can you not see how stupid this is!?" I remember feeling a similar call--not necessarily into the wilds of America--but, toward some greater purpose in the years just after college. Krakauer does an important job of reminding us that youth was about chasing dreams, daring the impossible, testing the boundaries of our heart's desires, making sure that the mark we left made a positive, tangible difference in our wake, as much as it was about pride and folly. I loved this novel and would definitely recommend it to those who find themselves thinking about the purpose of life, especially if they are also interested in nature and philosophy.

Exemplary Good Reads Reviews from Former Students

What if I’m only 1, 5, or 10 page(s) short of the amount I need to get an A? Do I really have to read just a few more pages?

Yes. In order to get the grade that you want, you must read, review, and log whole novels. If you are only a few pages away from your page goal, then you must read and review another book to reach the page count.

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. I call this “breaking up” with a book. You are allowed to “break up” with one book per trimester and still count those pages toward your total pages read. You may log ONLY the pages that you completed and must write a review on Goodreads explaining to me specifically why you decided to “break up” with this book. Answer the questions: 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 and log ONLY the pages that you completed within the trimester. You must still review the book in Goodreads 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 log just the pages you read to finish the novel, and write a review about the ending.

Choice # 2: You can finish this book in second or third trimester and log ALL of the pages 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.

If I read a book that I’ve already read, do I have to write another review?

If you are choosing to reread a book that you read in another trimester, then you must still write another Goodreads review. Great readers often reread novels again and again because each read-through offers more powerful insights into the plot, characters, themes, and symbols in the novel. Your second review should be a much richer analysis of what you noticed this second time around.

Do you actually read the book reviews that we post on Goodreads?

Yes, so please make sure that you are following the criteria outlined on the "How do I write a book review?" and "How will I be graded?" questions above. If your review is too short or lacks evidence of original, analytical thinking then those pages will not count.

I can’t find the book I’m looking for on Goodreads. What do I do?

Every book that is published by a publishing house has an ISBN number. Find this 11- or 13-digit number on the copyright page of your book and type it into the search box on Goodreads.com. This will locate the exact title and edition of your book. ​

The link to my review is missing. Will I still get credit for that book?

No. If the link is missing that means that you either failed to put the link to your review in the box or that you provided the wrong link and it was deleted. To ensure that you get credit for this book, Loop Mail me the correct link and I will update your entry. Please note, the correct link will read: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/#######

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, scripts, or webcomics?

This gets a little bit more complicated. Because a lot of these formats are not published by a traditional publishing house, you will not be able to find these on Goodreads to write a review. 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 pages.

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

I'd be happy to provide you with some recommendations!

You can check out ratings and reviews of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) books on my Goodreads page. By clicking the "young-adult" tag, you can filter to see just the YA books I've read and recommend.

But, because everyone has different tastes in books, here are some other resources to help you find what you're looking for:

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.

What if I forget my Goodreads login and/or my username + password combo doesn't work?

Try the combination below once again:

User name: first initial + lastname + 19@lafsd.org

PW: Student ID #

If that doesn't work, then you will have to create a brand new account using a different email and password. Make sure that you write this information down somewhere so that you don't forget it for future Goodreads entries.