San Diego Jewish Academy
9th and 10th Grade Humanities
Reading Journal Letter

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Rubric | First Quarter Schedule

Dear Student

Your literature log is a place for you, your classmates, and us to talk this year about books, reading, authors, and writing. At its best, the literature log will strengthen your reading comprehension, increase your vocabulary, improve your reading fluency, and provide time and space for critical thinking about the texts you read. You'll think about literature in letters to us; we'll write letters back to you. Our letters will become a record of the thinking, learning, and reading we did together.

Letters should be at least a page long and address one of the following:

  • Choose and discuss a quote in which you see connections to other things we've done in class, to your life, or to other texts you've read. (LALR 3.5)
  • Tell what you noticed about how the author wrote; quote examples of style, tone, dialogue, imagery, theme, and tell what effect these create. (LALR 3.11)
  • Discover the author's background. Why did he or she write this text? What is the context in which the text was written? (LARC 2.3) (LALR 3.12)
  • Ask relevant questions about the text or related issues. Look for answers and include your search and findings. (LARC 2.3)

As a bare minimum you must write a letter to us or a classmate in your own log at least once a week, due by Tuesday. The teachers need a letter from you at least once every three weeks. This is only a minimum requirement. You may pass a literary letter to us or to a friend as often as you wish. The total letters for a quarter, including those you write to another student, will hold greater weight than a single essay.

When you write a letter, give your log to the person to whom the letter is addressed; if that's us, put your log in the "in box". When a friend gives you his or her log, you must answer within twenty-four hours. After you've written back, deliver your friend's log directly to him or her. Do not lose or damage another's log.

You may write and respond to letters both during and outside reading workshop.

Number the pages of your log, as in a book. Date your letters in the upper right-hand corner. Use a greeting and closing, just as you would in any friendly letter. Mention the name of the author of the book you're talking about and its title, and indicate the title by capitalizing and underlining it (e.g., A Tale of Two Cities).

We look forward to the chance to learn from you, learn with you, and help you learn more.


Melissa McKinstry and Doug Kipperman

Rubric | Top

Your letter

completely, mostly, or somewhat

  • includes formatting requirements: page number, date, letter format, greeting, and closing. (1 pt.)
  • mentions author and title (underlined) specifically. (1 pt.)
  • shows care and neatness in penmanship, presentation. (1 pt.)
  • shows skill in editing to correct mechanical errors. (1 pt.)
  • addresses one of the bulleted prompts or an analytical topic of your choice; not merely plot summary. (3 pts.)
  • provides show-not-tell details, evidence, examples from your reading, life, connections. (3 pts.)

First Quarter Schedule | Top

Due to the fall holidays, and our PSAT and ERB testing schedule, we have very few Tuesdays this quarter. Because of this, we will have a total of three literary letters in our literary logs by November 2, the end of this quarter, and one will be exchanged on a Friday.

You must write a letter in your log and exchange it on the following dates: Tuesday, September 11, Friday, September 21, Tuesday, September 25

The schedule below will show you which date you must write to Doug or Melissa:

Tuesday, September 11 Letters to Melissa or Doug:



Michael A.

Diana A.

Brianna A.

Eve B.

Sammy A.

Jessica C.

Paul D.

Dovid C.

Rachel F.

Brett J.

Brett L.

Friday, September 21 Letters to Melissa or Doug: | Top



Jake K.

Rachel L.

Austin L.

Micah N.

Tali N.

Ariene N.

Josh N.

Joram N.

Ben R.

Jarrett P.

Shelly P.

Tuesday, September 25 Letters to Melissa or Doug:



Joseph S.

Giuliette R.

William S.

Mimi S.

Aaron G.

Tyler S.

David S.

Camille S.

Megan M.

Paul S.

Josh I.

Avi G.

Tuesday, October 16, Literary Logs to Melissa and Doug

We will collect everyone's literary log to check for three letters and three rubrics (two with peer responses, one with a teacher response).

Site Map | Grade 10 Syllabus | Grade 9 Syllabus | Quotes | WordList | Glossary | Graphic Organizers | Rules of Thumb | On-Line Resources | WriteDesign | Co-Teachers - Doug and Melissa | Gallery

E-Mail Doug at or Melissa at

Melissa and I would like to
znet for
making a commitment to
education and WriteDesign.