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Reading Seminar. 3rd six weeks. Clear as Mud:. You will NOT have an “Outside R eading” assignment during the third six weeks. Don’t get too excited… I never said you wouldn’t be reading. Clear as Milk:. You may choose the seminar you participate in.

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reading seminar
Reading Seminar

3rd six weeks

clear as mud
Clear as Mud:
  • You will NOT have an “Outside Reading” assignment during the third six weeks.
  • Don’t get too excited… I never said you wouldn’t be reading.
clear as milk
Clear as Milk:
  • You may choose the seminar you participate in.
  • You will be reading books. Note the plural.
  • They will be chosen from as specified list of books related to your seminar topic.
  • Your group will decide the timeline for reading completion.
  • You WILL NOT be able to complete the assignments for this seminar if you do not read.
    • Assignments require ready in-depth knowledge of books.
    • Your group members will ‘vote you off the island’ if you do not contribute due to a lack of effort.
crystal clear
Crystal Clear:
  • You will be reading 40 points worth of books.
  • Books vary in length and difficulty, with point values ranging from 5 to 20 points.
    • Point values reflect difficulty and literary merit, not length.
      • Ex: Against All Odds includes Any Harry Potter (5), Digital Fortress (10), Into Thin Air (15), Sword of Shannara (20)
  • It will be up to you and your group members to decide how to earn your 40 points.
    • Can be done in as few as three books in every seminar.
    • No seminar requires more than six books to reach 40 points.
so grades
So… Grades?
  • Reading and Discussion
    • Completion of 40 points worth of books*
    • Participation in Seminar Discussion (including Ticket in and Notes)
  • Reader Reaction Tickets/Short Answer Quizzes
    • Given at random to assess progress
  • Vocabulary Quizzes
    • rhetorical terms
    • wotd
    • vocab from books- yes, I know… you’ll all be reading different books
  • Two Major Papers major/test grade
    • iSearch paper (slightly different from Outside Reading assignment)
    • Reflections paper (at end of seminar)
  • Knowledge Folder major/test grade

*- Completion of 40 points of books is necessary to receive full credit on ALL major grade assignments. The number of points you fall short x10 is the number of points that will be removed from EACH test grade at the end of the seminar should you not complete the appropriate readings. I will consider extra credit for going over 40 points if you can demonstrate depth of understanding.

what is a reading seminar
What is a Reading Seminar?
  • Six weeks of reading a series of books (40 points).
  • Topics:
    • Against All Odds
      • stories of human triumph
    • A Woman’s Place
      • literature about the role of women in society
    • The Search for Identity
      • Coming of age stories
    • Diversity in America
      • Literature by and about different cultural groups in the United States
  • You will be stuck with these books for an entire six weeks, choose a seminar based on the books you want to read rather than defaulting to your usual group of friends.
against all odds
Against All Odds

Title (Point Value)


Robert O'Brien

Velma Wallis

Jerome Lawrence

J.K. Rowling

Barbara Kingsolver

Bill Bryson

Dan Brown

Steve Martin

Alice Siebold

Barbara Ehremeich


Orsen Scott Card

Frank McCourt

Patrick O’Brian

Laura Hillenbrand

Charles Frasier

Jon Krauker

Laurence Bergreen

Terry Brooks

Mark Helprin

  • Z is for Zachariah (5)
  • Two Old Women (5)
  • Inherit the Wind (5)
  • Any Harry Potter (5)
  • The Bean Trees (10)
  • A Walk in the Woods (10)
  • Digital Fortress (10)
  • The Pleasure of My Company (10)
  • The Lovely Bones (10)
  • Nickel and Dimed (10)
  • Nectar in a Sieve (10)
  • Ender's Game (10)
  • Angela's Ashes (15)
  • Master and Commander (15)
  • Seabiscuit (15)
  • Cold Mountain (15)
  • Into Thin Air (15)Over the Edge of the World (20)
  • Sword of Shannara (20)
  • A Soldier of the Great War (20)
the search for identity
The Search for Identity

Title (Point Value)


Joan Bauer

Lois Lowry

John Steinbeck

Po Bronson

Billie Letts

Mitch Album

Martha Beck

Sheri Reynolds

Daniel Quinn

Tim O’Brien

Joyce McDonald

Laurie Halse Anderson

J.D. Salinger

Yan Martel

Herman Hesse

John Irving

John Knowles

Kurt Vonnegut


Robert Pirsig

  • Rules of the Road (5)
  • The Giver (5)
  • Of Mice and Men (5)
  • What Should I Do with My Life? (10)
  • The Honk and Holler Opening Soon (10)
  • Tuesdays with Morrie (10)
  • Expecting Adam (10)
  • A Gracious Plenty (10)
  • Ishmael (10)
  • The Things They Carried (10)
  • Shades of Simon Gray (10)
  • Speak (10)
  • The Catcher in the Rye (10)
  • Life of Pi (10)
  • Siddhartha (10)
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany (15)
  • A Separate Peace (15)
  • Slaughterhouse Five (15)
  • My Name is Asher Lev (15)
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (20)
a woman s place
A Woman’s Place

Title (point Value)


Fanny Flagg

Maeve Binchy

Alice Walker

The Delaney Sisters

Mary Pipher

Anna Quindlen

Kaye Gibbons

Billie Letts

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Carol Gilligan

Rebecca Wells


Sue Monk Kidd


Julia Alvarez


Charlotte Bronte

Amy Tan

Anita Diamant

Barbara Kingsolver

  • Welcome to the World, Baby Girl (10)
  • Tara Road (10)
  • The Color Purple (10)
  • Having Our Say (10)
  • Reviving Ophelia (10)
  • Black and Blue (10)
  • Ellen Foster (10)
  • Where the Heart Is (10)
  • Herland (10)
  • In a Different Voice (10)
  • The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood (10)
  • Nectar in a Sieve (10)
  • The Secret Life of Bees (10)
  • So Long a Letter (10)
  • In the Time of the Butterflies (10)
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran (10)
  • Jane Eyre (15)
  • The Joy Luck Club (15)
  • The Red Tent (15)
  • The Poisonwood Bible (20)
diversity in america
Diversity in America

Title (Point Value)


Christopher Paul Curtis

Robert Cormier

Toni Morrison

Howard Griffith

Rosie Molinary

Ernest Gaines

Esmeralda Santiago

Zora Neale Hurston

Gary Soto

James McBride

Mark Haddon

Alice Walker

Barbara Ehrenreich

Amy Tan


Margaret Walker

David Guterson

Richard Wright


David Hollinger

  • The Watsons Go To Birmingham (5)
  • Tunes for Bears to Dance To (5)
  • The Bluest Eye (10)
  • Black Like Me (10)
  • HijasAmericanas (10)
  • A Lesson Before Dying (10)
  • When I was Puerto Rican (10)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God (10)
  • Living up the Street (10)
  • The Color of Water (10)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the
  • Nighttime (10)
  • The Color Purple (10)
  • Nickel and Dimed (10)
  • The Joy Luck Club (15)
  • My Name is Asher Lev (15)
  • Jubilee (15)
  • Snow Falling on Cedars (15)
  • Native Son (15)
  • The Kite Runner (20)
  • Post-ethnic America (20)
where do i find these books
Where do I find these books?


Book Stores

Half Price Books:

1960 at Stuebner Airline

Once and Again Books

Sawdust Road across from HEB

Jill’s Used Books

27718 I-45 N

Once Read Twice Sold

250 Cypresswood, Suite E

Barnes and Noble (Woodlands or 1960)

Borders (Woodlands)

Spring/Harris County

  • Barbara Bush Library
    • 6817 CypresswoodDrive
  • Northwest Library
    • 11355 Regency Green Drive

Woodlands/Montgomery County

  • South Regional Library
    • 2101 Lake Robbins Drive
  • Woods Mitchell Library
    • 8125 Ashlane Way
seminar discussions
Seminar Discussions
  • Every Monday you and your group will get together to discuss what you have read.
  • Discussion Dates:
    • 11/29
    • 12/6
    • 12/13
    • 1/4 * for those reading four or more books
1 st task
1st Task
  • Once you have chosen a seminar, you and your group members need to create a schedule.
  • Include:
    • List of titles to be read
    • Discussion dates for each title
      • Where the group should be in each book by the date of discussion (finished? Halfway?)
tickets please
Tickets Please
  • You will need to prepare five note cards for each discussion- these will serve as your “admission ticket” to your seminar.
  • If you do not have your note cards fully prepared, you will not be admitted to the seminar (grr ...).
    • That means you will not receive your points for the note cards or the discussion! In other words, these are VERY important. The good news is that they are not difficult to prepare.
  • Three of the note cards:
    • On the front: page number and the first sentence of a significant passage
    • On the other side of the card, you need to write down either:
      • A) a personal connection,
      • B) and ethical or social concern, or
      • C) something you found upsetting, disturbing, confusing.
    • Write enough that the ideas are clear to you during the discussions.
  • Note card number four will contain stylistic techniques from your book(s) that you find interesting or bewildering.
  • The final note card will be blank, as it will be used during the seminar.
seminar discussion
Seminar Discussion
  • You will have the entire period to discuss what you have read.
  • During this time you should:
    • Share your note cards. Go around the group, one at a time, and ask everyone to read one of their note cards. The group will then discuss what the person has shared.
    • Continue taking turns until either the class period is over, or you have all run out of note cards (four rounds!)
  • Your ‘blank’ note card should be used to either:
    • make note of something you found particularly insightful
    • write down an idea or question for further research
  • Once the group has finished their discussion, check to make sure all group members are at approximately the same point in their reading, and that the original choice of the ‘next book’ is still valid.
part i checkpoints and quizzes
Part I-

checkpoints and quizzes


progress checks
Progress Checks
  • Book Check
    • do you have your book, are you reading it? (you should have your book EVERY DAY, by the by)
  • Quick-Quizzes
    • AP Multiple Choice questions over rhetorical devices
  • Ticket Out of Class
    • Short-answer (OER style) connecting your reading to things we have learned in class (ex: Modes of Discourse, Rhetorical Devices, etc.)
  • Vocabulary Quizzes
    • Chosen from Word of the Day, Rhetorical Devices, and context vocabulary from your reading
  • Note Cards
    • From seminar discussion- will be checked before each discussion, and are included in your knowledge folder
isearch paper
iSearch Paper
  • Choose a topic, issue, or event from your reading that you would like to know more about.
    • This could be anything : ex: What was so special about Shelby cars? How do people from Singapore adapt their culture when they come to America?
  • The report will have five sections.
    • Present the Question. Write about the origin of your topic choice and why you want to know more about it.
    • Describe the Search Process. Write about how you conducted your research.
      • Where did you look first? Why? What surprises, if any, did you encounter in your research? Did these change the way you approached your questions?
    • Telling What You've Learned. This is the "report" section. Tell what you have learned that helped answer the initial question(s).
    • Saying What It Means to You.
      • Explain how this information helped you better understand the book.
      • Explain how this information helped you better understand the theme of your seminar.
    • Citing Reference Works. Use proper MLA Works Cited format. (4 sources, plus your original book)
isearch paper due dates
iSearch Paper-Due Dates
  • Rough Draft for peer editing: December 8
  • Final Draft, with cover sheet and rough draft included, due by December 13th.
  • Both drafts must be printed out at due date.
reflections paper
Reflections Paper
  • This will be a one-period cold write asking you to reflect on your experience in the seminar.
  • Conducted after Winter Break.
  • Completion of 40 points of books is necessary to receive full credit on ALL major grade assignments.
    • iSearch paper
    • Reflections paper
    • Knowledge Folder
  • The number of points you fall short x 10 is the number of points that will be removed from EACH major grade at the end of the seminar should you not complete the appropriate readings.
  • I will consider extra credit for going over 40 points if you can demonstrate that the extra book added depth to your understanding
  • This major-grade assignment is intended to help you track and understand significant features and themes of the novels being studied.
  • It is an individual project, but feel free to ‘compare notes’ with other students.
  • Front of Folder: collage that is representative of the books
  • Inside folder: two-page spread for each book analyzing elements of the novel including plot, characters, literary devices, theme, and more!
  • Back of Folder: Reflection on the meaning of the seminar
front of folder
Front of Folder
  • Collage-style representation of books you and your group have read.
  • Must Include:
    • Titles and Authors
    • Pictures that are representative of the story
  • Suggested inclusion:
    • Favorite line or quote from each book
  • Each folder will have a two-page spread dedicated to each book you read.
  • You have been given two legal-sized folders. This allows for three books. If your seminar includes more than three books, I can provide you with an extra.
    • I will not provide replacement folders- you’ll have to get those on your own if something happens to the folders I gave you.
inside contents pg 1
Inside Contents- pg. 1
  • Title and its significance
  • Statement of Theme: including
    • a quote
    • the context of the quote
    • how the quote is related to the theme.
  • Connection to the Seminar’s Theme
  • Seminar Discussion Notes
  • Plot Synopsis: includes
    • major events
    • Climax
    • resolution.
  • 3 ‘Level’ questions about the book:
    • Level 1: recall/general knowledge
    • Level 2: interpretation of something in the book
    • Level 3: larger theme, connects to topics outside of the book
inside contents pg 2
Inside Contents- pg. 2
  • Point of View and its significance
  • Setting:
    • Time
    • Place
    • Significance
    • Social setting
inside contents pg 21
Inside Contents- pg. 2
  • Major Characters (up to 5): including
    • changes they go through: how do they develop?
    • their motivation why do they do the things they do?
    • their function in the story what purpose does the character serve?
    • the narrator’s opinion does the narrator paint the character in an overly negative or positive light?
    • and your reaction to the character how do you feel about the character? Do you dread it when he/she shows up?
inside contents pg 22
Inside Contents- pg. 2
  • Literary Devices:
    • Choose three rhetorical or literary devices from each of the three columns on your CE assignment sheet. (Emphasis, Organization, Decoration)
    • For each device (total of 9):
      • Name of Device
      • Definition of Device
      • Quote where it appears in the book
      • Significance: How does it help the story or the writing?
inside contents pg 23
Inside Contents- pg. 2
  • Author information:
    • Background: date of birth/death; nationality; living conditions; education; major world events or conditions going on at the time of writing, etc.
  • Letter to the Author:
    • Mention one thing you liked
    • One thing you did not like
    • One question you have for the author
    • What has reading this book meant to you?
back cover
Back Cover
  • Answer the following questions about your experience during the seminar using quotes from various readings
    • What does the theme of the seminar and/or a book you have read mean in terms of:
      • Your family
      • Your friends
      • Your community (local or national)
      • Your understanding of the human condition
expected schedule dates subject to change
Expected Schedule *dates subject to change
  • Nov. 19: Reading Day
  • Thanksgiving Break
  • Week of Nov. 29 (3-2):
    • Mon: Seminar Discussion Day 1
    • Tues: Reading Day, Quiz (CE Assignment Due)
    • Wed/Thurs: intro iSearch paper, Reading Day, Quiz
    • Fri: KF check, Quiz, reading day
  • Week of Dec. 6 (3-3):
    • Mon: Seminar Discussion Day 2
    • Tues: Reading Day, Quiz (CE Assignment Due)
    • Wed/Thurs: iSearch paper rough draft due, peer editing, Quiz
    • Fri: KF check, Quiz, reading day
  • Week of Dec. 13 (3-4):
    • Mon: Seminar Discussion Day 3, iSearch paper due
    • Tues: Reading Day, Quiz (CE Assignment Due)
    • Wed/Thurs: KF check, Reading Day, Quiz
    • Fri: reading day (early release)
  • Winter Break
  • Week of Jan. 3 (3-5):
    • Mon: Holiday
    • Tues: Seminar Discussion Day 4, if needed, KF work day otherwise
    • Wed/Thurs: Reflection Paper- cold write
    • Fri: KF work Day
  • Week of Jan. 10 (3-6)/Finals:
    • Mon: KF Due

Please note: you will only have 3-4 major grades this six weeks. Normally, you have 7-10. This means each of them counts for more than you are accustomed to, and a 70 hurts more.