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AP Lit Journal Last Nine

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 12 years, 2 months ago

Reading Journal Guidelines:


Your journals can be typed (how nice) or handwritten (neatly, in blue or black ink). Please turn in something that screams how proud you are of the work. Each journal has three distinct parts as shown below. 



1. Introductory information as shown below (record all this information in order)

  • Title of work and author

  • Genre (play, novel, epic poem, nonfiction text); sub-genre, if applicable (example, not just play for Henry V, but history play).

  • Historical context, such as the year published, the literary period, or any historical or literary connections worth noting

  • Protagonist(s) and description

  • Antagonist(s) and description

  • Brief (no more than 200 words) plot summary

  • Key themes: the main two or three

  • Significant literary elements, such as symbols, motifs, allegory, allusions, special

    structure, point of view, etc. Don't just say the book has a lot of symbols, list some and describe them.



  1. 5-7 journal entries (approximately 1,200 words total). As you read, use close reading techniques to improve them. Keep a journal in addition to any notes you may make in that process. Your close reading may and should prompt ideas for journal entries. Use any of the following starters for journal entries. Never summarize the text!! All journal entries are to be analytical exercises. Be sure to vary your entry types (don't do the same thing over and over again).

  • Start with a quotation from a chapter and comment on it. Why is it important? Extend beyond the text itself. Ex: maybe the passage is important for a character, but how about us?

  • Pull out a soliloquy or short scene from a play and analyze it. Why it is important? What is revealed, etc.?

  • Reading between the lines. Sometimes it's what characters don't say that matters. Cite a passage and explain what's really going on. Be sure to show how you know it.

  • Analyze the development of a dynamic character: how is it she/he grows, learns, etc.? (AP tests are full of passages that show character growth).

  • Cite and explain and ironic passage. How does irony function in the work?

  • Cite a passage and analyze the author's style: choice of words, syntax, tone, etc. Why do

    you think the author used this style for this work? How effective is the passage at

    achieving the author's purpose?

  • Cite and agree, disagree or qualify a point of view in the work (best for persuasive

    nonfiction). Give context for the point of view first.

  • Something else? Think of something. We will add to this list as we go.

    Important note: any time you cite a passage, it DOES NOT count toward the word count for your journal entry. You do not have to copy an entire passage though. Why not include a photocopy or, if digital, cut and paste.

  • A final overview: choose any of the following (400-500 words) For any of these choices, cite the text in support of what you say.

    • Personal reflection: why you liked this book and are glad you read it.

    • Recommendation: choose a person you know, and write an email to him or her giving

      your recommendation. If this person is another student in our class, be sure to share your

      book and recommendation with him/her.

    • What you learned about yourself as a reader? What did you learn from studying this

      book? Be specific.

    • Literature often reflects the time period in which it is created. What have you learned or

      did you already know about the period in which your work was written? 





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