Final Grade on My Winter Term “Assigned Reading”

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Final Grade on Winter Term Assigned Reading

If you’re just tuning in, at the beginning of this “school year,” I decided to set myself some assigned reading to rev up my reading life and motivate me to read some of the books I’ve been putting off for years.

Each term, I assigned myself three books and awarded each book a “percentage”—how much it would impact my term’s “final grade” at the end, if you will.

For a quick recap (in case you don’t want to go back to visit that original post), each of the three books fell into one of the following categories:

  • a “heavy hitter” (aka, a book most people would agree is a “classic”)
  • a young adult award winner, or “teen star” (I used the Newbery awards as a guide)
  • a “power boost” book (one that was meant to stimulate personal growth in some way)

The Grading Breakdown (from original post):

* “hard hitter” book – 40% of course grade

* “teen star” book – 30% of grade

* “power boost” book– 30% of grade

The following were opportunities for extra credit:

* anything off another recommended reading list (+10% to grade)

* poetry, full book (+10% to grade)

* parenting books (+ 5% to grade)

* any book out of my reading comfort zone (+ 5% to grade)

My “fall term” reading was summarized here, and the current winter term that just ended went from 11/26 – 1/28 (yesterday), so it looks like I’m due for a final assessment!

***Note: You’ll notice the titles below are affiliate links if you click on them, which help support To Love and To Learn at no extra cost to you. If you’re looking for a GREAT book for any middle-grade teen (from around 6th to 9th grade), The Wednesday Wars (which I review below) is only $4.99 on Amazon right now, and it’s one that I think would appeal to most readers of that age group (as well as any adult that enjoys YA fiction done well). The Screwtape Letters is also a great addition to any library as it’s totally the kind of book you’d tend to want to read and re-read over again, and Amazon’s got it for just over $8. For classics like Sense & Sensibility, I recommend getting them for free through Kindle or as an ebook (since older classics can generally be found at no cost if you go that route). The edition I personally own of S&S is actually a book that includes ALL of Jane Austen’s works, which can be found here. If I had lots of money at my disposal to buy books (ah, the dream!), I would buy this gorgeous set from Penguin Classics in a heartbeat. Just sayin’.

Assessment Breakdown of Winter Term Reading

1. “Heavy Hitter” – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

  • Total Number of Pages: 175 (in most versions, the book has around 400 pages, so you can imagine how absolutely tiny the print in my version is!)
  • Number of Pages Completed by Term End: 137
  • Percentage of Pages Completed: 78%
  • Likely Rating That Will be Awarded on Goodreads: 5 stars
  • Reasons for Rating Given:
    • Austen books are often a bit of a slow burn to get into, but once you’re about halfway in, you’re REALLY in. I’ve been a huge fan of the movie and t.v. series adaptations of her books for years, but the books contain even more wit and important background info than the movies ever could, which is why they’re so worth reading.
    • I’ve decided that a Jane Austen novel is the perfect thing to read before bed–it’s not heavy content-wise in the slightest, and there’s something soothing about the language and the fact that the books are written about a society that just moved at a much slower pace. Granted, this bedtime reading habit might have been one reason it took me longer than it should have to get through the book, but I sure have enjoyed every chapter of it.
    • This is the last of Austen’s more popular novels that I’ve read (aka, I’ve already read Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion), and I’m hoping that no one ever asks me to rank them in order of my favorite because I think I would have a REALLY hard time answering (and would probably just tell you that it’s whichever one I’m currently in the middle of or the one I read most recently). Austen is just GOOD, man.

2. “Teen Star” – The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

  • Total Number of Pages: 264
  • Number of Pages Completed by Term End: 264
  • Percentage of Pages Read: 100%
  • Rating Awarded on Goodreads: 5 stars
  • Reasons for Rating Given:
    • You guys, it is not often AT ALL that I award five stars to a book that’s not nonfiction or that’s not a classic. But this YA historical fiction novel was THAT amazing.
    • I loved that this book was set during the time of the Vietnam War, which not many books are (especially YA books). Basically, the book follows the narrator through a school year as he is forced to spend Wednesday afternoons alone with his teacher, who he is sure has it out for him.
    • This book is laugh-out-loud hilarious throughout. If I, as an adult, was frequently snickering with every page, I can only imagine how much funnier this book would probably be to a middle schooler.
    • More than just being funny, however, this book had some great messages that I think anyone–teenager or adult–would benefit from being reminded of. (Also, it must be noted that while many books with historical themes can often be depressing, this one ended happily, but believably so.)

3. “Power Boost” – The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

  • Total Number of Pages: 208
  • Number of Pages Completed by Term End: 208
  • Percentage of Pages Read: 100%
  • Rating Awarded on Goodreads: 5 stars
  • Reasons for Rating Given:
    • I’ve literally been meaning to read this book for over a decade, and now that I have, I only wish I would have started sooner! This book of satirical essays is written from the perspective of a “top-level” tempter working for the devil, and he’s sharing his best tips with his nephew on how to bring souls down to “Our Father Below.” Witty and completely illuminating, this book really made me think about certain temptations or weaknesses in a whole new way, and I love all the insights it gave into human nature and the overall development of spiritual morals.
    • Any book where I’m frequently pulling out my highlighter to mark things is a sure sign of a book worth visiting again and again, and though I’m not much of a re-reader, I definitely want to be revisiting parts of this in the future!

4. Extra Credit Opportunities

  • Total Number of Other Books Read During Term: 3 (Due to first-trimester pregnancy symptoms + me getting sick with other stuff on top of that over and over again, it was not a good term for reading a lot)
  • Number of Books Falling Under Extra Credit Categories: 0 (all of the books were contemporary adult fiction, none of which was on any of the recommended reading lists I most use, nor were they out of my comfort zone or parenting or poetry books)

Final Grade Awarded for Winter 2018 Term: A- (91.31%)

(31.31% HH + 30% TS + 30% PB = 91.31%)

Spring Term Assigned Reading

And, in case you’re curious, my current Spring Term reading is:

*HH – Lord of the Flies by William Golding (I somehow missed reading this in high school and am long overdue to join the ranks of the rest of the world in having read it)

*TS – Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (I have literally owned this book for probably around 15 years, but I’ve never read it. Time to change that!)

*PB – How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen (a recent acquisition of mine that I can’t wait to start)

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy!