Independent Reading Initiative

The English Department requires all NDHS students to participate in a four-year program to improve student reading through independent and semistructured reading groups.

This program is meant to help students grow as individuals and learners while strengthening their academic skills and fostering a love of reading. In a world where technology seems to be taking over everyone’s lives, people are finding less and less time to pick up a book; NDHS is going to change that. Increased literacy helps with everything from enhanced communication skills to higher scores on standardized tests.

If students ever find themselves at a loss for which book to read, our teachers will be happy to look over the list with them to find a perfect match. Please keep in mind that the reading list approved by the English Department contains a wide range of works with varying levels of difficulty and subject matter. While the works are appropriate for the rigors of high school coursework, Notre Dame High School is NOT endorsing the content of any particular book. Before reading any individual selection, students should conduct a little research and make sure the content is agreeable for them and their guardian(s).

This reading program has various components that will be required of each student during the school year:

Each student must read a minimum of 25 books throughout her high school tenure. These books are not a part of the assigned curriculum for any class but are, instead, a supplement to the curriculum.

60% (15) of these 25 books must be selected from the approved reading list created by the NDHS English Department. The other 40% (10) books must be at or above the individual student’s reading level. These independent reading selections must be in addition to the regular NDHS curriculum and cannot be assigned for any class. While students may select books of their choice, they are also free to read all 25 books from the approved list. (Please note that books on the list that you have ALREADY read will NOT count towards your 25 books.)

Each student will be required to read one mandatory summer reading book, which will be different for each grade level. They will also count as one of the approved independent reading selections from the list. In addition, each student will read a second summer reading book selected from the approved summer reading list. All information regarding summer reading (ex: reader’s logs, the book test, etc.) will be discussed in class.

Each student must belong to at least one “book club” sponsored by a member of Notre Dame’s faculty or staff during each academic school year. The books read during “book clubs” will count as one of the approved 25 books, even if they are not on the English Department list. Students may join more than one book club per year if they choose; all seniors, however, are required to join a book club during the first semester of the school year.

Occasionally, NDHS will host an “All School Reads” event, in which all members of the ND community will read the same work at the same time. Any “All School Reads” will also count as one of the approved independent reading books.

Every quarter, each student will complete an activity in response to one of the books she is reading (or has read). The details for each activity will be at the discretion of the English teacher and will be discussed in class.

Students will be expected to read independently often; you should always be reading a book! On every D1, English teachers will collect reading logs from each student that track the books being read and the amount of time spent reading. These reading logs must be signed by either a parent/guardian, teacher or staff member. Students will be able to work ahead on these reading logs at the discretion of their English teacher.

Students will be required to track their reading progress and the books read each quarter. A comprehensive list will be kept in the writer’s portfolio in the English Department and updated each school year, but it is the responsibility of the student to make sure she stays on track with her reading requirements. Think about keeping a copy of the list with your advisor and discussing your reading selections during your scheduled appointments. Work ahead during the summer months to knock some books off the list. A good guideline to keep in mind is to read 6 books per year (including the two required for summer reading). In addition, it is expected that seniors finish the requirements by the end of the fall semester during their senior year.