Independent Reading Self-Evaluation

In case you haven’t noticed, I am a bibliophile. Maybe I love books more than any other person you know. I love how reading books creates moments for love, laughter, and living that a life without books does not.

I had to find books on my own. I didn’t have a parent or a teacher or a friend help me find my way into the written word. My own drive made me a reader.

My mother never read me a bedtime story, and she never gave me money for the book fair at school. I remember, although it was decades ago, the moment I fell in love with a book. I’d found Anne of Green Gables in the school library, and I devoured it in a day. I loved Anne, and I loved her friend Diana, and I loved that mean old Gilbert. More than anything I’d ever wanted, I wanted to read the sequel. But my mother wouldn’t get it for me. She was not a reader, so she didn’t understand.

I never did get to read the second book, but I never lost my love for reading.

I go through spurts of read, read, read, and then I have to take a break. Watch some movies. Write some blog posts. But reading is my favorite hobby. I went a whole decade without watching TV, and I spent a lot of time on the elliptical or the couch immersed in a book. This reading saved my life when my parents’ health failed, and the pressure of a really bad year tried to take my soul.

Reading can do that, you know? It can save you. Sometimes it saves you from yourself. Sometimes it saves you from situations that can alter your future for the worst. Sometimes it just saves you from a dull and dismal day.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird after I’d lived in Memphis, TN. Racial tensions were high with the election of the city’s first African-
American mayor. I loved how Atticus stood up for right, and I wished more people in my town were blind to color. He’s one of my heroes to this day.

I read The Agony and The Ecstasy after a class in classical art. Oh, how I longed to visit Italy. Irving Stone’s Michelangelo is bold and strong and so committed to his craft.  Something I’d never been until I started teaching.

I read The Poisonwood Bible after I began to study literature. Who would have thought I’d love a book set in the post-colonial African Congo, but I did, and I cried real tears when the first child died.

My list of favorite books goes on and on and on. I add to it often. I can’t seem to help it.

If there is one thing I can impart to students this year, it’s a desire to read. I can show you literacy rates and the benefits of reading: better health, better jobs, more successful relationships. But really, you have to experience it to believe it.

So I want you to think for a moment:  Do you remember learning how to read? Did you feel smart? important? special? Did you have someone who read to you when you were small? Did you have a favorite storybook?

We’re finishing the 8th week of school on Friday. We’ve been reading the first 10 minutes of class pretty much every day for seven weeks. Are you reading during advisory? Are you reading at home? How many pages have you read? How many books have you finished? Do you feel yourself growing as a reader? If not, you are not reading enough. Are you even giving reading a chance, or are you fake reading, turning pages without absorbing a word?

Describe your reading habits. Reflect on how you spend your time when you could be reading. What changes could you make that would make a difference to your reading life?  What goals do you have for yourself as a reader? What genres do you want to try that you haven’t explored yet? Tell the truth–I have your numbers from the clipboard.

Write a POST on your own blog that evaluates your reading life over the past seven weeks. Answer any or all of the above questions in your explanation. Remember to structure your post as an essay with a clear thesis statement and body paragraphs with examples and a conclusion  This is a TIMED assignment. You have only this class period. Be sure to proofread and edit before you publish.

Bonus:  Go to and find a photo of the cover of your favorite book and insert it into your post.




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