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A Portrait of Myself as a Reader

List of Steps to Complete this Assignment:
  1. Get and understand the assignment and read sample (9/14/15)
  2. Do pre-write notes (due 9/15/15) -- 10 points
  3. Rough draft (typed in g-doc) (9/23/15)
  4. Peer edit (9/25/15)
  5. Parent (or 18+) person read, feedback, and/or edit. (9/26 and 9/27)
  6. Final copy due (9/28/15) -- 20 points
  7. Work with writing coach to respond to suggestions -- 10 points
  8. Eventually this will be on your digital portfolio website.

Me As A Reader

Here are the instructions:

Think about the following questions, and then please write a portrait of yourself as a reader. Please devote one paragraph for each number below and be sure to answer all the questions, (Your final response will consist of four to five paragraphs that smoothly flow from one to another, along with an "catchy" introduction and a conclusion).
This reflection is to help you and me to better understand how and why you read. Please present yourself as honestly as possible. If you think reading is serious and painful, boring, say so. If you feel that reading is as essential as air and you can't live without it, then say so.  In either case, and for all cases in between, please explain your thoughts and feelings well and with examples whenever possible.

1. In general, how do you feel about reading.  What types of reading materials or genres interest you? (novels, nonfiction, newspapers, magazines, humor, poetry, computer manuals, clothing catalogs, etc.) Are there any types of reading materials in which you have no interest ? If possible, try to explain why do you think you have those preferences?

2. How much time do you spend each day reading? Is most of your reading for pleasure or required reading? How does your reading experience differ if you have to read a required school assignment as opposed to reading for pleasure? Do you hate to read any assigned book or can you still enjoy it even if you have work to do as you read?

3. Have you ever laughed or cried over a book? If so, what was the title? Do you have a favorite book? Do you ever recommend books or talk about books with friends? Have you ever re-read a book? If so, can you name it/them here? What did you get out of it the second (or third or forth) time around?

4. How many books would you say there are in your house? What types of books are they? Who do these books belong to? How many of these have you read? Who reads the most in your house? Who reads the least? When you read at home, where do you read? Describe this reading space for me.

5. Why do you think people read?  Do you think that reading, as a skill, is important in day-to-day life?  What is the role of literacy (ability to read and write) in a society?

Student Sample

Reading: The Mirror and The Window

    You can travel the whole world, dance through every era, and experience pure magic without any risks or consequences.  How do you do it?  Read. Oh, the places you’ll go and the things you’ll ‘see’ and almost free.  As for me, I read novels, usually fantasy, sci-fi, and even historical fiction.  I don’t know why I like this, but almost my whole family (except dad) likes those genres.  Books are as important to me as air -- they are my life support.  I’m almost always buried in my books, and when the demands of real life pull me out, I'm usually just aching to return to my reading realm as soon as possible.
    I do all kinds of reading. When I read as an assignment for school the slow pace frustrates me, but I can usually still manage to enjoy the book.  Most of my reading, though, is for pleasure, yet it is more serious than it is "recreational".  You see, for me reading is like a requirement to sustain my well-being. 
    Almost every book I read makes me laugh out loud or sends tears cascading down my face.  The Hunger Games trilogy, Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments series, and hundreds of others have had one or both of these affects.  I recommend nearly every book I read to friends or family and my friends and I even call each other or have ‘fights’ about books.  I re-read nearly all of the good books, to the extent that I can correct mistakes on the trivial things that people write in book summaries or websites like fanfiction.  I tend to buy books rather than borrow them from a library so that I can re-read them as often as I want.  I see the foreshadowing and characters in my re-reads, and I learn how I really feel about the characters and books.  Sometimes, when I reread a book after a long period of time, I react very differently than the first time.  My parents say it is because I'm getting older and more mature, but I won't give in to that analysis -- it just annoys me.
    I think that there are over 4000 books in my house.  No kidding.  My whole family seems to collect them.  There are picture books, sci-fi, fantasy, fiction, horror, mystery, music books, cookbooks, manuals, teaching books, baby name books, children's books, storybooks, monologue books, easy-readers, language books, dictionaries, textbooks, and many others.  They belong to everyone in the house.  I’ve read a lot of them but that is nothing to what lies ahead.  My mom, middle sister, and I are pretty much tied for who reads the most, and dad reads the least of everyone in the family except for my youngest sister who is just 7 and learning to read and progressing rapidly. She had to be tied to a chair at the dining room table to get her to sit still and start reading Harry Potter, but once she got a taste, she was hooked. I read in any place I can, including my bed, loft, living room couch, the floor, or a papasan chair.
    Literacy is a required skill in life.  People who are illiterate can have a hard time getting an education, learning a skill, or finding a job.  But one shouldn't read for fear of ignorance or homelessness.  More importantly, reading should be a joy of life.  People read to escape to another world, to escape life when it gets rough, to avoid a bad dream or experience, to broaden their horizons, to go on a breathtaking adventure with a guarantee of safety, to widen their vocabulary, to become better writers, to have something to talk about, to learn, to learn to do things, to explore, to fall into someone else’s footsteps, to become a better person, and for advice. I read to take a break from my life when things get hard, and to make new ‘friends’ within the book.  Books can give you companions when you feel unhappy.  If I ever feel alone, I can curl up with a good book and read to my  heart's content.