• Geoff

Quick Description

  • I assigned students to read a book each quarter of the year. Hopefully some would read more, but I wanted everyone to read at least one. To verify their reading and make them think, they wrote a set of journal reflections while/after they read.


  • To increase stuents' reading fluency
  • To challenge students to read on their own and apply the skills we teach explicitly in other units (like identifying theme and literary analysis)

Original Context

  • I felt like students were getting through school without reading. Even advanced-level freshmen were finishing 9th grade reading only Romeo and Juliet and part of The Odyssey. That's just not good enough. I knew they had the time to read more, but I hadn't figured out a good way to do it.
  • I gave them time to read in class--it worked particularly well when I paired this with writing workshop and students could choose whether they'd read or write during class. That made it so it didn't have to be entirely homework, and the numbers of completions for each quarter rose significantly when I did that.


  • Students had the entire quarter to read just one book, so they had plenty of time. I assigned the due date bout a week and a half before the end of the quarter, to give myself time to read the journal reflections.
  • In class, students had 30 min. per block (1/3 of their time) for workshop, which they could use for either reading these books or for writing assignments.

Good parts

  • Students who wouldn't read unless it was assigned (usually because they're so busy) read at least four books.
  • To push advanced-level students, I made it so you could only get an A if you chose a book off one of my lists. Those honor roll students did NOT want to get a B and it nudged them into reading some high level books. To earn a B, you could read basically anything.

You should know

  • A lot of students who read the books didn't turn in the journal assignments and ended up with zeroes.
  • I tended to overwhelm myself with the journals if I made the due date too close to the end of the quarter.


  • Told students to choose a book. It had to be 1) 100 pages, 2) not a children's book, and 3) something they'd never read.
  • Gave students time to read through reading/writing workshop.
  • Gave out A's only for students reading books off the list I provided (note: I don't do this for my regular Eng 10 or 11 classes). Did this by assigning 8% of the points only if they'd read one of those books.
  • Handed out a list of reading reflection journal ideas, to help them write the reading journal. Usually assigned three entries, which were one page each and hand-written.
  • Assigned a lot of points to the assignment, since reading a book is a decent accomplishment.