Over the course of the semester, you will write at least ten brief reading journals (no more than 300 words each) analyzing some aspect or particular of the assigned reading for one class meeting.
You needn’t write a journal for every class meeting, but only for at least ten classes by the end of the semester. Aim to write one journal a week; that gives you some leeway to miss a few weeks and still fulfill the requirement.
The purpose of these journals is to provoke class discussion by presenting a specific idea about the text.
Journals should be 1) well written, 2) supported by details from the text, and 3) about the text in question; other than that, you can write about whatever you think is worth your time and ours. But bear in mind that the more specific you are the more likely you are to say something worth discussing. So write about something small (a peculiar word choice, an unusual metaphor, a striking allusion, or some other small particular) and offer some interesting and truthful insight into it.
Although short, your journals should not be shoddy. They should be lucidly and efficiently written, thoughtful, and intelligent. In writing your journals, consider what is interesting about the readings, what you want to talk about in class, and what others would want to discuss.
If your journal focuses on a short passage from the text (which it probably should), you will help your readers greatly by quoting the passage in question before you comment on it.
Journals will not receive letter grades. I will evaluate them as Excellent, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. If you submit ten Satisfactory Journals, you will make 100% on the assignment.
Post your Reading Journals in the Journal component of Blackboard. Please DO NOT submit your journals as attached files.
Because they are meant to help shape class discussions, you must submit your journals at least 24 hours before class discussion of the text (so by 2:30pm on Sunday or Tuesday).
Always come to class ready to discuss any posted Journals on the day’s reading. You can respond to Journals during class discussion or reply to them directly in Blackboard.