As a reader, 2009-10

At the end of the school year, English 9A students were asked how they had changed as readers since last September. Here are some of their responses. I have not made any corrections to spelling, etc. —etm


I remember, back in 2009, first day of english class. Mr MacKnight handing out papers, and telling us about the course for the upcoming year. When i heard i had to read every day, i was like: “yeah, right!!! Who on earth reads every day???” It turned out, that this person was me. Since the beginning of the year, I read nearly every single day (except if i didn’t have a book for a few days). It sounds crazy, but it’s not that bad.

Over the course, I read a variety of books. Entertainment, Action, Love, Books that made me think, utterly boring books, and many more. Even though the amount of books I read over the course increased, I did not change much as a reader. I still read the same kind of stories, I still read the same speed and I still prefer movies  :


At the beginning of the year, I was put in Mr. Macknight’s English class.  As part of the homework we were given, we were “supposed” to be reading fifteen minutes everyday.  When I first started reading, I would read every now and then.  Now I read almost every day and am way faster.  At the start of the year, I would read about 80 at the start of the year.  Now, I read about, depending on the week, about 130+ pages per week.  One of the many reasons I have changed in my reading habits are because it part of my English grade, which is kind of important.  One of the most important parts of reading to me, is that it help me get back up to the level of reading I should be at.  I can see myself changing as a reader in the following years by reading harder books.  This would help both my vocabulary and my reading skills for when I get older.


Having to read for class hasn’t exactly made me read more than I used to, only it’s made me pay more attention to what am reading.


After I began to read some good books, like 100 years of Solitude, The Joy Luck Club, Far From the Madding Crowd, etc.,I began to realize that an outstanding piece of literature does not have to have an awesome storyline, a piece of literature should make a reader arouse with numerous questions and thus relate these questions to ones life. It was not only until I read good books did I fall in love with reading, as they never bore me with the sprouting of endless questions for myself to resolve. Not only this, reading good books has also influenced my writing, as it expanded my knowledge and vocabulary.Reading good books has also saved me in the second exam essay question,how can writing make us think of serious questions, since I already have many serious questions in the books that I have recently read. Imagine what I could write if the only books that I read this year were those shallow and immature ones like Twilight? I mean, would not it be hysterically funny if my “serious” question was:Why do some humans fall in love with vampires?


To be honest when I was in Korea, I barely read any books. I was always busy preparing for exams so nobody said anything about me not reading books. The only chance for me to read book was when the teacher said she’s going to make some test questions from the books she chose.

However when I attended Mr. Macknight’s English class it was kind of shocking. Every Tuesday I had time to do independent reading. Also something more shocking was the homework I was given. Reading every day. Something that seemed very easy compared to the tiring English homework I have done in my old schools. Also, what’s more amazing is that I can read any books I wanted too. My mom and teachers always told me to read books about boring history and I think this made me hate books even more

Over the year, I tried my best to read every day. Although I didn’t read much because I am a slow reader, I think my reading speed and understanding improved a lot. When I first started reading my reading was slow and I didn’t really understand what was going on. I was reading a English book in almost 4 years. At first it was hard and challenging, but as time passed by, it wasn’t that hard. I got used to it and reading books everyday wasn’t a problem.

The most important change after reading books is the way I look at books. Before, books just looked like a bunch of papers that’s going to bore / annoy me. Now ‘some’ books look fascinating and make me want to read it. A big progress compared to hating all the books that exist!


I have always loved to read, and I could just spend one whole day reading. But it’s more difficult to find time to read in a school week. You have homework to do, things to study for, you might be tired and just want to go sleep right away, no reading. But it’s not as hard as it might seem. Whenever I’m bored, i try to resist the temptation of opening my laptop and chatting with my friends, who might just be as bored as me. No, instead, I grab a good book, sit comfortably in my sofa, with a drink perhaps or a snack maybe, and I can start reading…

Over the year, my reading skills have improved. I learn new words in every book, that I can then use in my book reviews or other entries. I have also changed as a reader because instead of sticking to the same genre of book, I have tried some books recommended by Mr. MacKnight. I have widened my taste in books, and my knowledge on authors. Which means I am interested in more books to read about and more things to learn about over the holidays


Honestly, Before I attended SSIS, In Taiwan I didn’t have any reading habit and I barely read any books unless I am instructed to do so. I was busy playing online games with friends. I didn’t like reading even the book is in Chinese, as I didn’t have a good patience plus I was also busy doing homework. However, when I attend SSIS, the habit of reading has changed.

After I joined Mr Macnight’s class, I am instructed to do independent reading everyday. I start reading everyday, I am shocked as I don’t like reading. But I found it that understanding the plot of the story is really interesting, I had not only expanded my vocabulary throughout the reading, but I also learned how the author wrote their books. Although I am still busy dealing with homework,  I found another habit that is good for me. As long as it is good for me, patience is not a problem anymore.

Day after Day, page after page, I read slowly and could hardly understand what the story was talking about when I first joined Mr Macnight’s class. However, book after book, my speed of reading and ability to understand books have improved as time passes. In addition, as for my summer reading plan, i will read a book called Marley & Me as it is quite challenging to me.


That’s probably when I really realized the futility in reading something you have no interest in. You learn nothing and remember nothing. Sometimes, it’s best to just leave it, and come back later. And other times, certain books are just not for you, no matter how famous the author may be.


When I’ve entered into Mr Macknight’s class and telling me about independent reading, I was rather very excited about it because in my previous school years there’s no such thing as independent reading and all we had done is reading comprehensions, poetry, school reading and writing stories that always ended up with a bad grade, yet almost no-one in my grade likes to read books.

I started off reading the teenage romance stories and read books that I’ve read before, but it made me realise most teenage romance is better off to the classic and original love stories because teenage romance tend to be too clique and sometimes books are better off reading once. I slowly one day began to have interest of reading good books,that has everyone talking about and the very well-known stories or classic stories and it made me grow up out of my shell and realise good books are the better-off to waste time.


When i first came into Mr. Macknight’s class of elite english speakers, my reading wasn’t that good. I didn’t know a lot of words back then, so i sometimes couldn’t understand the books i read. My writing wasn’t in the best level too, so i didn’t get used to writing in the blogs immediatelly. It actually took me 3 months to even start writing in the blogs. But as i read more books and wrote more often on the blogs, I started to understand more words and to read faster. I also wrote more often on the blogs and, to make me more interested into writing blogs, i started writing incredibly long, awesome blog title. In the future, I might even write my own ‘Must-Have’ book and i might have my own personal library filled with lots of books for my family and me to read.  But i wouldn’t bother my 3 week swimming vacations into reading, but i might continue writing my book. Something inside me makes me write good books.


In September of 2009 I was a voracious reader. I was checking out books from different libraries, reading online books, and making lists to buy more books from America. As the school year fared on however, and schoolwork as well as homework became more of a challenge, the number of books I read, and the time I had in which to read them, went down. Schoolwork became my excuse not to read one hundred pages a day, or a book a week.

This year, no reading experiences have been important to me. To be honest, the only thing reading changes about me are a few slight personality changes, and a few questions to be asked to myself. While reading the book ‘This Lullaby’, I was reminded of my own situation. The situation in which I was in was a divorced situation, where I was always catering to my mothers’ needs and helping her. This was the only book that really hit home, as I could read all the other books with a simple readers’ point of view. Just reading because it was interesting and did not relate to me. ‘This Lullaby’ was the only book that truly kept me interested because it related to me. Every other book I only read because they did not relate to me in the least. The other books I read were sci-fi, or murder mysteries, anything that would not relate to me. I realize that I only did this because I was scared that I would be reminded of everything I have been through, and not like it, or go back into being an unhappy person.

What makes ‘This Lullaby the most important reading experience I have read this year is that it relates to me so closely.

In the year ahead, I will probably improve as a reader, reading more complicated and challenging books, as well as more books. My summer reading plans are three books a week, and two on the weekends.


At the very start of the year, the first day actually, Mr. Macknight already assigned us a daily homework, the homework was reading every day fifteen minutes. For the first couple of weeks, I didn’t really take it seriously and I must admit, I barely ready anything. But when our first report cards came out, I realized that my grade could have been better if I only read more, so decided to read much more. At first, I struggled a little bit, since it was a bit hard from reading almost nothing to about a bit more than a hundred pages a week. Something else that made it harder for me is my laptop, since I always wanted to go and do something else, but by reading every day, I also started reading different types of books, different styles, like thrillers, action, puzzle, etc. Reading so many different types of books taught me to like different authors, not one I always read like ‘Anthony Horowitz’, but not only did the independent reading help with that, it also made me learn a huge amount of new vocabulary. This will help me be ahead of people of my own grade in Belgium!!


This year is my very first time around in an English A class, so I didn’t expect myself to get good grades, having bad grades is what I have expected. I even thought, I was going to fail in the very beginning of the year.

By the time when we had to do Independent Reading every monday, at first I couldn’t really understand the book I am reading. After I finish, I can only understand the overall story, not the depth part of a book. But actually when you keep on reading, it helps you a lot, well for me it did. The more books you read, the better writer you’ll be. It helped me learn new words, how to use those words, and understand better on what the book’s all about, compared to the past. I know I am a slow reader, I might be a slow reader but at least I read books carefully, not reading fast but in the end you actually don’t understand the book. When I really love a book, and the more I read, I want to read it slow and don’t miss anything that I might not understand. So, when you actually read a lot of books it helps your writing and speaking skills.


Well, even before Mr. MacKnight requires us to read everyday, I have been reading almost everyday. The most annoying part is that we have to record it down, which I do not do previously. This year, I have started to read books that are meaningful and significant. These books, such as the “The Wave:, or  ”Joy Luck Club” aren’t as boring as what I thought it would, but they are actually fun to read, and rather easy to understand. Reading these books allows me to understand more of the problems that we have in our society, or the problems that we had. Also, reading these books helps me know more vocabulary. I now use words that I do not often use in the past.

I think that the books I’ve read this year, especially the books we read in class made me think A LOT (in a good way). Books that I’ve read in class makes me think about prejudice, justice, innocence, and stuff like that. Other books that I have read makes me think about innocence (again), how precious time is, the importance of family and friends, love (especially true love), influence, and so on. From the books that I have read this year, I have learned and understood many more problems that we have and/or had in our society.

Su Min

Actually, reading was one of the most boring things to me in September. However, now it becomes a little bit interesting and attractive. I start to look for books with themes I might be interested in. At first, I couldn’t figure out the deeper meaning in the books and thought it is too stupid to concentrate in virtual world. However, I now realize that I can find out the ways to solve some problems we must face during the life. For example, after reading The Merchant of Venice, I realized that mercy is more important than law and a person should be mercy to benefit both him or her and the others. This is one of the reading experiences that have been most important to me because it teaches me the lessons I can not learn in the schools, which is the way to be a “person”, a true person. I think that Shylock is not a person because he tried to kill the others because of hate and money. On the other hand, Portia, who could rescue with wisdom, is a merciful person who cares others and helps others. I, as a reader, also decided to be merciful and help others with my ability after reading this book. In summer, I am going to read some books about the goals and success of life because it is time for me to decide the overall route of my life.


At the beginning of the year, when Mr. Macknight told us that we have to do independent everyday and keep record of it, I thought I’d never make it. It’s not like I hate to read, but let’s just say that reading isn’t exactly my favourite thing to do of the day. Sometimes, I would force myself to read a few pages so I could fill in the blank spaces in my homework diary. However, that’s only the beginning, throughout the year I think I’ve changed a lot as a reader.

Through the semester, I think I’ve learnt better techniques to choose the right book for myself so I wouldn’t get bored half way. Before I tend to choose books with cool names, or simply a fancy cover page. But later I really started to think about what type(s) of books I enjoy the most, and before I choose anything, I would actually flip to the back cover and read the information. By doing this, I found out that the books I chose are much more “me”, and quicker to read.

By reading consistently this year, I found out that I enjoyed it much more than before. If it was one year ago and you gave me a movie and a book with the same story, I’ll probably go for the movie, they are fast and uses less energy and concentration. But now if you give me the same test, I think I’m going to choose a different answer. Though it is a lot more time consuming, it is in a way much more entertaining and fun. A good author could write a book more breath taking than any movies. Sometimes if you really finds an exciting book, the excitements built inside you are way better than finding out the answer two seconds later.

Summer holiday is coming up, my plan is to try to read as much as possible, it doesn’t necessarily have to be everyday, but whenever I have spare time I should take up a book I like and just sit on the couch and enjoy it.


At the beginning of the year, I didn’t read the right books. Sure, they were books with pages and a plot, but they weren’t the type of books that were really worth reading. It seems my book choices have changed so much throughout the year, first being the kind of average entertainment books and then going for books with more depth.  It seems the books that I read now are more influential which will probably make my next English teacher happy. I’m looking forward to a summer of finding some books but not reading everyday(somethings never quite rub off on me).

Chong Hao

Prior to the start of Grade 9, I was averaging a book a day. However, after my entry into Grade 9, and more specifically, Independent Reading, my reading pace slowed down considerably. I did not relish the idea of being forced to read; before Independent Reading, I read whenever it pleased me. Even though I might not have read on a daily basis, whenever Idid feel like reading, I would read through multiple books in a few hours, even re-reading the same books several time. Back then, reading books was somewhat of a refuge – a place to escape reality for a few hours. However, what seemed like a safe haven then now seems like demonic hell. The whole idea of reading a set amount of pages each day just killed my buzz; it tainted the sacred place that books once held.

However, even though my love for reading might have been dampened, I feel like I am reading more “quality” books than I was at the start of the year. I used to indulge in fantasy/fiction books; it provided me with an alternative to reality. Now, I have started to read literature; in fact, I’m on somewhat of a Tolstoy spree right now. As of now, I am readingWar and Peace, and plan to buy and finish most of his work by the end of the summer break. I suppose that this change might have been for good; reading “good” books would give me the chance to improve my writing, a chance that I might not have should I read fiction/fantasy books.

Jia Xin

I wasn’t in Mr. Macknight class in September and we did not have independent reading or blogs. I did not read much until I came to English A.
At first, I read a lot because I knew that the independent reading could make a different in my report card grade. I am not a native English speaker but I want to maintain my grade so I read novel every night after I finished my homework. Now, I did not read as much as I first came to English A because there were more and more projects and less spare time. You might think that this is an excuse, I think so as well, I became lazy, kind of. I think that I read better in the morning because my mind is clearer during morning when I woke up. I always fall asleep at night when I read novel and I don’t think I remember the events that happened. Sometimes, night gave me the mood of the character in the story and I felt scare of reading it. I read in the morning, which means I have less time for reading because I have to rush to school everyday so I read less.
I changed from a person who wanted to get a good grade in report card so I read more books to a person wanted to dip into a friction that is full of imagination and adventures that I might not even see in my entire life or into a non-friction world that tells me what the real world looks like and how people survive in it. I read at lot in the beginning of this semester and I found out that I really like non-friction stories because I wanted to see the real world outside and how people manage to live in this “world” that we are going to join soon and after. I know I shouldn’t have just read one kind of genre (what I meant for genre is friction or non-friction) but I would try to read other genre that interests me. How did I change? I don’t know the answer. I just know that I read more and found out what I like and just go for it.
I knew that I learned a lot when I read books. I learned new vocabularies, grammars used, culture of the certain country, life of other in real world, etc. I also know what genre or type of books do I like the most, which means I get to know myself better.

Hyun Seung

Nah, I was not good at reading English books, when I was trying to read the books, I started to sleep after 5 minutes of reading. However, this year was different. Mr. Macknight had asked us to read any books everyday 10 minutes, so I started to read. It was only 10 minutes of reading time at the first week. However, I started to spend my time longer on reading. My mother was surprised at me when I was reading.

During summer holiday, I am going to go to Korea for one week (may be longer), and I am planning to buy some English books at the bookstore. To add, I think I need to stop reading fantasy books, like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter and etcetera. From now on I need to start to read the books that can make me think of a serious question, and which are more meaningful and useful for my bright future.


I guess I haven’t changed much as a reader.

At the beginning of the year, I aimed to read more. I somehow managed to do so every now and then but bit by bit, slacked…

I would name two reasons to why I slack: 1. I am a lazy reader. 2. I seldom find the right books for myself.

Being a lazy reader, I often find excuses to not read or simply forget about it. Looking at the English grades I received for the first semester -not term-, I was determined that I should read more. The thought was nailed into my head, forcing me to read. I did, but it didn’t last long. I would often sit on the couch, book in hand, trying to read. But often not long after, my head would start bobbing and eyelids closing. I end up napping on the couch, or simply read a few pages and move on to other work. I slightly grew tired of reading, and would hesitate or walk away from it. I wiggled and struggled through a few books and soon, second semester’s report card was out. The grades were not much different from semester 1’s, only one point up. This time round’s exam was also a disappointment for me. It’s starting to make me believe that reading is important, and that being a lazy reader is no good.

But, being a lazy reader seems to relate to my choice of books. Occasionally, I would get my hands on books I like, but a lot of times, books I don’t like would appear in my hands. When I read books I don’t like, I find it boring, and unwilling to even go half through it. This slows my pace in reading. Realizing my dislike towards books often takes a while, though. When I do realize it, choosing the next book becomes a challenge too…

As everyone else is changing as a reader, I would be honest and say I didn’t. Although I didn’t, but my perspective towards reading has changed, a lot. As my perspective towards reading changes, I guess I would soon change as a reader too?

Yi Su

Was I ever a good reader? I never was. If I was not in Mr.Macknight’s class and had to write independent journal, I wouldn’t have read a lot. Since my first language is Korean, not English, and even though I’m in Language A, it is hard for me to read books in English. Moreover, expression is different in English. That is why sometimes I don’t get jokes from books. Every time I don’t get what they character is saying, I asked my English speaking friends. As I learn many new stuffs from books, I began to read more and more (Some books, I didn’t write Ind. Reading journals).

Ji Hyung

When I first have to read a book in English, it took like five or ten minutes to read a page. As I read every sentence I circled the one that I don’t understand and looked it up. It worked at the beginning, but, if you are learning English for second language you might know how it would feel like, I just started getting annoyed a lot and got angry about my poor English reading skill. However, I couldn’t stop my reading to write my reading log and I was determined to give myself some prize such as bunch of candies or chocolates as I finish up one book. I started with Romantic or comic books because it doesn’t get easily bored.

The result was really successful I guess. First few weeks, I tried to read least five pages a day and finished them after two weeks. Somehow, I found myself actually enjoy reading stories in English and my speed reading a book increased, besides the time taken get shortened a lot. Tell you what? You guys must know Twilight series and they are really thick that each one usually  has 500~600  pages long. I read each one in three days, which is, for me, very huge improvement. When I read them all, I was amazed myself and really wanted to recommend my friends to read the Twilight~

Now, I am aging what that means I have to think and act mature!! I am so sad. I made my new aim to improve my reading. The aim is to read and read, no matter what types of book it is.


Looking back at the beginning of the school year, I realize that I actually changed as a reader. I started to think about what all the books I read were about and what I could learn from all of them.
I thought about serious questions I could get out from the stories, because all books have something to teach us in the end.
Since I first stepped into Mr. Macknight’s class, I immediately understood that he wanted a lot from us, and that’s when I started to care about books. I read them, wrote personal responses to them and I reflected a lot on them too.
I changed a lot over the school year as a reader, and I can say that I’m very happy with who I am now and what I’ve become as a reader.


I will remember this school year as the most important school year in SSIS. I could had chosen to go to Chinese middle school near my house, but for the new experience and English skill, I have chosen international school, which is one and half an hour away in car. This school year brought me a big change in learning English, because I started independent reading for the whole school year in this year.

I was in English BS class when I was in grade 7. By then, I only read some simple books with simple words. In grade 8, I was in English BA class, and this was when I started to read more complicated books. However, our class didn’t started to read from the beginning of the year, and even when we started to read, I didn’t read that much in my free time. So I didn’t really think of “reading English books” as something to do in my free time. But it changed as I become a 9th grade student. I started to study in English A class, and the teacher, Mr.Macknight emphasized the importance of reading. Since then, I have read some English books duirng my free time. The reason might be that I was forced, but now I’m thinking about the importance of reading in learning a language.

I was lazy in reading English books during this year, since I didn’t work hard in the most of the subjects this year. But now I’m learning the importance of reading, so at least there was a little change as a reader. I’m planning to change my self during summer vacation, so I will read more as well. This vacation will be busy for me, but I will not forget to read!

Li Fan

Back in 2009 September, I did not really read much book at that time. In fact reading was on my top dislike list, but now reading became one of my habits everyday. This change started from the day I entered Mr. Macknight’s classroom once again after grade 7. The course was still similar to the one before, but this time I learned a lot more from the books I read. Some of the most important reading experiences I gained this year will be to actually enjoy in reading. At first I was forced to read, as a 28 pages or more is needed to achieve a good grade, but as time goes on I started to pay a much closer attention to every vocabulary, every word, every sentence I read. Actually, what is most important to me will be to enjoy reading. Once you are in with the plot line, everything will go together naturally. For this summer, I am planning to read better quality books, as what I need now is to focus more on my use of language and grammar.


Have I changed as a reader?

Yeah of course i did, I read many books more then last year and the year before.  This year i read more sophisticated books and I was happy that i liked a lot of them. I read many different books, girly books, hard books, interesting books and books who make you think. I learned from them and I asked many questions about them, trying to learn more about them and the author itself, things that last year a didn’t do. I am planning to read more books next year and to keep learning from them because the more i read the better my writing gets. This summer i am planning to keep up the good work and keep reading both in English and in Italian.

Se Ri

I have changed as a reader, but only a bit. Compared to the first semester, I prefer books that are literature related now. I think this is because it makes me think of questions about certain things, and also think of answers about them. The books we have read in class have effected by reading literature related books. They made me really think about certain things both deeply and broadly. And it was hard for me to think about things deeply because I barely read books deeply. I just accepted and passed the important things that could have been discussed seriously, and did not really care about it. But I have improved a little on spotting important things out. Over the summer holiday, I am planning to read some of the books that were recommended by Mr. Macknight.


Since I moved into Mr. MacKnight’s English class, I changed a lot, improved I think. I read a lot more than before now, and more varieties of book, think more through the books. Reading different varieties of book make me think a lot, some serious, some just imaginary, but the most is that now I think through every question from different view. Just like in a book, you have different character, having different personality; you can go into this character’s mind and see want is the way this character will look at this question. I think I will be improving more and more in my year ahead, maybe more in grammar, since my grammar is pretty bad. But for now I plan to read The Catcher in the Rye and another book by Marcus Sedgwick, I am also going to search for more good books in the book store.

So Yeon

I changed a lot in reading during this year of grad 9th. As I’m getting older, I started to become lazy on reading books. However, there were differences between the first year of semester and now the ends of semester. By the assignments from language teachers of reading books changed me a lot. Beginning was the assignments but at the end, it changed to my habit again. Not just the enforce of assignments, still now I could mentioned the books that changed me of reading. Books like ‘Secrets’ these dream guidebooks changed my mind and make me to read the books to help me and encourage me. Some books like fantasy or magical stories makes my interesting on books a lot too.

By these experiences, I changed to love reader again, as it want to be continue to be a love reader, in this summer I have plan to have the books I have to read for my age of level, all the necessary books need for grade 10th as well. Hope I follow the plan of keep tracking on reading!

Yoo Min

Since English is not my mother tongue, and I am not that kind of person who loves challenging, I hated most of the things that related to English. When I first came to SSIS and read an english book, I almost cried, I thought I was too stupid. I took almost a month to read a book, even though my English skill became better, I still hated reading. I think I would not read even one book for this year if Mr. Macknight did not require us to read. However at the beginning of the year Mr. Macknight told us a good method which is “read what you want to read”. Even though it was pain in the neck to look for new vocabulary, I wanted to because I was curious to know next issue. And this make me spend more time on reading than before. Anyway from now I need to start reading more kinds of deep meaning book rather than entertaining books.


During the start of this school year, I never had any problems with reading and would usually pick up a book whenever I was bored and had nothing else to do. Now, nothing has change except that I now read at a faster pace and I prefer not to read too much during times when I’m bored. I still plan to keep on reading next year but just not as much as 28 pages per day. For the summer of 2010, I think I’ll just read around three times a week, the number of pages I read each time will depend on how interesting the book is.


Previously I didn’t read a lot of books by my self unless the teacher assign me to. Or unless it’s only the books that I am interested in and want to read. Then I’ve been moved up to english A, it’s a class that we are assigned and suppose to read everyday, and it’s strongly needed for the class, so I started to read more then before everyday, and with the books, I can know more things like what is the book talking about, what would the books teach me, and I also get a new hot topic to talk about with friends and anyone. I’ve changed from a student who don’t often read books to reading books more and more often everyday.

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