Ms. Gokturk

Advanced Composition


Outside Reading: The Reader Response Log (100 points)


After you have read your memoir or biography, you will write a letter tot the author and an analytical expository essay that explores a controlling idea and uses evidence (text-based evidence AKA TBE) to demonstrate how the theme(s) is/are developed.


The purpose of your reading log is:

  1. To demonstrate active reading
  2. To provide you with notes for your writing assignments; serve as a reference for you
  3. To help Ms. G help you
  4. Give you a forum for your observations



  • Have an entry for each chapter.
  • Label each chapter as a heading.
  • You may either handwrite or type your log. If you type it, you will need to submit it to
  • As you read, try to identify the authorís purpose: whatís the point of this chapter?
    • Note it: this is the thesis or main topic
    • List TBE that helps develop it: use quotes AND paraphrase (w/ page numbers)
  • Write legibly
  • You may bullet ideas in note form but they must make sense for others (i.e., me!)
  • At the end of your notes on the chapter, provide some personal connection or feedback (bullet form is OK here, too):
    • comment on your personal reaction
    • ideas you have
    • feelings you have (emotional response to section)
    • make connections to the world
    • ask questions on what wasnít clear
    • note anything interesting, successful, or unusual about the authorís style
    • does it trigger any personal memory?


What do I need to write about?!

When someone sets out to write a memoir or biography they do so because there is something interesting about the person/self. Your essay will explore a theme and illustrate how the author accomplished their task.

  • Search for the CONFLICTS: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. society, man vs. self, man vs. God, etc.

ŗSome of the common themes you might find in a memoir or biography include:

  • overcoming hardship or adversity
  • striving for individuality; being a non-conformist
  • struggling with inner demons
  • the journey: seeking something
  • coming of age
  • exploring the causes of an effect
  • how to achieve success