American Studies 324: American Immigrant Cultures
When we think about the term “reading,” we often automatically turn to the mechanics of the act, the action or skill of reading. However, reading is also about interpreting, shaping experience,
identification, and making meaning.
The goal of your reading journals is to move beyond the mechanics of reading, and instead to
approach the reading for this class in new and creative ways, examining each of our texts in ways that
make the most sense to you.
To do this, students will keep a reading journal which will include at least one entry per module of
assigned reading. Each 500-word entry should be dated and include the title of the reading that has
inspired the response (you can respond to as many or as few of a module’s readings as you desire).
While you are obviously welcome to discuss the media included in the modules, you must always also
discuss a written text in each journal entry.
Your journal entries can take many forms, this is your space to explore the texts in ways that work for
Some ideas for journal entries (please note, this is by no means an exhaustive list):
• Ask the author questions
• Collect your favorite quotes from the text
• Define terms that you didn’t previously know
• Put the text in conversation with a current event
• Explain something you didn’t understand and what you did to try and figure it out
• Tell me what made you think and what made you angry
As should be clear, you have a lot of flexibility in what you use your journal space for—whatever you
choose these entries should not just be a summary of what you read. Feel free to include sketches,
cartoons, memes, or anything that helps you to make sense of the readings. The possibilities are limitless.
Students will compile their individual entries into two documents for submission on March12th (journal
entries covering modules 1-7) and May 7th (journal entries covering modules 8-14). Please note that
because these journals are typed out, I expect you to always utilize spell-check!