Reading Update/Review #1

*Remember, avoid spoilers as much as possible, since your thoughts might inspire others to pick up the book.

The must-haves: create a post about your independent reading. See below for posting options. Also, make two comments on your classmates’ posts. Comments can be brief but they need to have substance, not just saying you like it (there’s actually a button for that).

If you have not completed your book during the past two weeks, post a reading update of at least one paragraph based on the reading focus for this week, which is Beginnings. Answer the following questions, explaining your answers:

  • How does the book hook you from the beginning? Or does the reader need a little patience? Why?
  • How does the book immerse you in a new world? What are some details of that world?


If you completed a book, post a book review of at least one paragraph, which will include answers to some the following (these questions avoid questions of plot, which will help you avoid spoilers):

  • How does the book hook you from the beginning? Or does the reader need a little patience? Why?
  • How does the book immerse you in a new world? What are some details of that world?
  • What is the most complex character or characters in the book? What makes them round and dynamic?
  • What are the compelling internal and external conflicts in the book? How does the book build tension?
  • Would you recommend this book to any reader? Would you recommend it to particular readers? Why?

Blogging Kickstarter: Disney’s Dominant Narratives

Make a short post in which you respond to another’s group argument, agreeing or disagreeing with their thesis and briefly explaining why.

Then …

Make at least one comment on one of your classmates’ posts — not just saying you like it, but providing a brief, but substantive response to their points.


Welcome to the blog for our English A class. One of the main uses of this blog will be to share and discuss our independent reading. We will also use this space to continue conversations from class and to start new ones. Here is where we can be critics, builders, and even just consumers of culture.

So, what’s a blog? And how will we be using it class? For information on blogging and how to join and post to our blog, see “All About Blogging.”

We’re looking forward to a great year.

Make sure you check your e-mail for your invitation to join the blog. Also – and this is very important – the first step you should take after you accept the invitation is to edit your user profile so that you control how your identity and your communication preferences.  Click on the icon in the upper right corner of the browser and edit your profile

You can fill out as much of it as you want, but the only requirement is — under “Identity” — make sure your “Display name” is your first name and last initial only — so we provide some anonymity while still allowing your classmates and teacher to be able to identity who you are. For example, change “Bernie Heidkamp” to “Bernie H.”

More Class Blogs

For many years, we used the Blogger platform for my classes. Since it is owned by Google, it integrates pretty seamlessly with your Google accounts — which made it easy to use, in some respects — but it is a very limited and bug-ridden platform. So we have decided to construct a new class blog from scratch using the most more powerful and stable WordPress platform.

If you are interested, though, in seeing what past American Studies students have been thinking and writing about, feel free to wander over to Take Control of Your Culture.

You can also check out my senior AP Lit students who are presently blogging over at Story Power.