AP Lang Reading Journal
The Purpose: Your reading journal will be your running record of reading selections throughout
the year. The purpose is twofold: 1) it will capture your thought process, insights, questions,
comments, reflections, connections, criticisms, and analysis as you are reading various works and
2) it will be the best keepsake of the course content and study guide for course exams.
The Requirements: For summer reading novels, you will complete one journal entry per
chapter. For class, you will record one entry for each essay selection covered in Bedford & Norton.
For other novels and nonfiction selections, multiple entries will be entered. An entry is one page
minimum of two-column journaling and will take on the appropriate format. You are required to
hand write these entries neatly—if I am unable to read your handwriting, you will not get any
The Format: For every entry you will follow the example below. You will include the title of the
selection, the author, and the pages covered. Each page is split into two columns for journaling
(see below). The left side is reserved for analytical/scholarly material while the right side is open
for personal comments/connections. Every section (see bold printed options below) should be
The Options: The great part of the reading journal is that anything goes… content-wise. There
are endless possibilities as to how to fill up your entries, but if you need a place to start, look at
the list below. Note: you may not touch on every area in each entry… in fact, it would be quite
confusing and time consuming and is not advised. Select areas that best fit the selection and your
mindset when writing. Here are some areas to use:
Title of the work
Author of the work
Analytical (left) Personal (right)
Summary of work Questions you are left with
Author information Favorite/Least Favorite passages or quotes
Insights into culture, time period, religion, Connection to personal life
philosophical belief, etc. Connection to previously covered work or
Character analysis of main and supporting author
characters and their role in the work Connection to modern society
Theme exploration of author’s message, Learning Process comment on what you
moral, etc. were thinking/doing while reading the
Vocabulary define unfamiliar, important selection (ex: did you have to stop, re-read, visit
terms a dictionary)
Literary Devices point out when and where Predictions in longer works with multiple
the author used these LDs and how they entries, you may want to predict what will
enhanced the work happen next
Mood explain the atmosphere of the work and Evaluation praise or criticism of the work
how it makes you feel with explanation
Symbolism explain the meaning behind Possible Paper Topic is there something in
certain objects, names, etc. this work that you might be interested in
Language & Word Usage discuss word writing about in a future paper?
choice, dialects, etc.
Format if the work is arranged in a particular
way that helps its purpose… explain
Test Question is there something in this work
that you think you’ll be tested on- if so, jot it
Genre how does this selection fit in with its
genre and its specifications?
…and any more areas you can think to write about!
FYI: your journal should be in a notebook—a composition
notebook is preferable.