Journal Entry 

 The Power of Book Reports 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

The Power of Book Reports: A Guided Approach

One of the most transformative tools in our course, “Preparing for Success after Prison,” is the practice of writing book reports. Reading is a powerful way to expand one’s horizons, but the act of reflecting on and articulating what you’ve learned can solidify those gains and provide clarity on how to apply them to your life.

The Three-Question Approach

Every time you finish a book, challenge yourself to answer the following three questions:

1. What prompted me to choose this book?   

2. What did I learn from reading this book?

3. How will reading this book contribute to my success upon release?

By addressing these questions, you not only reinforce the knowledge you’ve gained but also integrate it into your personal growth journey.

Example Book Report: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”

1. What prompted me to choose this book?

I had heard of Frederick Douglass as a prominent figure in American history, known for his advocacy for the abolition of slavery and his powerful oratory. I wanted to delve deeper into his personal journey, understanding the experiences that shaped him and the wisdom he gleaned from them.

2. What did I learn from reading this book?

Douglass’s autobiography is a testament to the indomitable human spirit. Born into slavery, he faced unimaginable hardships. Yet, he recognized the power of education and knowledge, teaching himself to read and write against all odds. His narrative sheds light on the brutal realities of slavery, the importance of self-empowerment, and the unyielding pursuit of freedom.

3. How will reading this book contribute to my success upon release?

Frederick Douglass’s story is a beacon of resilience and determination. His unwavering belief in his own potential, even in the bleakest of circumstances, serves as a powerful reminder of the strength within each of us. As I prepare for my release, I am inspired to harness that same inner strength, to educate myself continuously, and to advocate for positive change in my community, just as Douglass did in his time.

Your Challenge

The next time you pick up a book, remember this three-question approach. Reflect on your motivations, the lessons learned, and how those lessons can shape your future. Share your insights with us by building a profile that memorializes your commitment to preparing for success upon release. Send an invite to [email protected] to get started.

Michael Santos, 

Founder of Prison Professors

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