Reading Logs


Reading Logs
Dr. Jolanta Wawrzycka
CHBS Building 4117. E-mail:

READING LOGS for literature classes: ENGL 201, ENGL 314, ENGL 420 (Dubliners), and ENGL 470:  Your reading assignments in these classes include fiction, poems and sometimes essays. As you read, take some preliminary notes and check unfamiliar words and references. The process outlined below should help you as you go along. Your logs are due on the date listed in syllabus (no exceptions, no extensions; if you have to miss class, submit your log electronically before the class meets).


  1. Create a template with your name, date, course/section, and Reading Log number, making sure that dates and log numbers correspond to those listed in your syllabus. 

  2. Start with a heading: author and title. Write a narrative response to the story/poem by considering (but not listing in your response) such questions as: what is the work about? What is the story line? Poems, too, tell a story, as they also offer meditation on subjects, events, or sensations. Who are the characters (gender? age? social status?) Who is the narrator? Can we “trust” him or her? Whose point of view is represented in the work? What is the setting? Is the work “realistic”? Historical? Mythical or imaginary? Speculate about the audience: who are the implied readers? Can we determine why the work was written? Is there a “message”? Why does the work “speak” to you? Or why doesn’t it? What is the overall effect of this work on you? 

  3. Comment on language: metaphors, diction, imagery, etc., as well as on the structure of the work: linear development, flashbacks. 

  4. Remember that the questions above are only very general guiding questions: not all of them will be relevant to all of your readings. Include any other comments that the stories/poems may prompt. Consult THE OWL on “Literary Analysis and Criticism” for more suggestions or visit


READING LOGS (critical theory & cultural studies)

READING LOGS and MyNotes for critical theory and cultural studies courses: Create a template in Word with your name, date, section, and Reading Log number, making sure that dates and log numbers correspond to those listed in your syllabus. As you read your ENGL 420/ENGL 621 theory assignments or ENGL 639/ENGL 680 cultural studies chapters, consider the following seven FOLLIES of learning to be addressed in your logs and included in our class discussions: 

Find the main points in the assigned text;

Outline the progression of the discussion;

Log on your learning process and your responses;

Learn as you write: what terms or concepts or names did you have to look up?

Interpret: how does your reading apply to literary discussions?

Explain what you have understood (think of explaining content to an audience)

Synthesize: repeat the three previous steps (as if you had to “teach” what you just read).

Term Papers   

Term Paper requirements vary from course to course; I conduct Term Paper Workshops in each course to help you brainstorm the topic, scope and length of your paper (see your course syllabus). You are also encouraged to consult THE OWL


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