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Reading Response Journals or Notebooks

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Many of us would like to use the reading response model but need some advice to get started. Here's the best of the best telling us how they do it in their classroom!
Musing and Perusing Reading Response Phrases
Posted by:desire2inspir #134139

-I wonder why...
-I don't see how...
-I can't believe...
-Why did...?
-It bothered me when...
-I was surprised...
-I can't really understand...
-I began to think of...
-When I finished reading, I thought...

Hope these help get you started;)

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Response Lead
Posted by:Belly #124219

The most important (word, phrase, idea) in this book is....because...

The genre of this book is.....because....

I agreed/diagreed with the author about...

If I were the author I would have changed the part of the story when...

My feelings about (character, book) changed when....

I am like or different from the character.....

Some important details I noticed were...they were important because...

I got these from Guided Readers and Writers and plan to use some of them in my class this year.

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A few more...
Posted by:Ms. J #134140

-One thing that confused me was when...
-This makes me feel...
-This reminds of...
-I think...will happen next.
-I can imagine what...looked/sounded/felt/tasted like.
-I think...

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No title
Posted by:donna #128697

I have a chart hanging up to help guide them in their book discussions with partners.
You could make a copy of the list for their reading journal and they could write about it.

Some of the things on there are...

Talk about...

a happy part
a sad part
your favorite part
has this ever happened to you
what the character is like
the illustrations
what would you do differently
a part that made you smile
does it remind you of another book
a part you didn't like

(that's all I can think of off the top of my head...but you get the idea:) )

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Posted by:BookMuncher #134134

My first graders have started doing it too.

It took me eight days to model. Each day, I thought aloud about one way I might respond to a book. (Ex: Tell how your schema changed, tell how your schema helped you read the book, connect an important idea to something with something from your life, infer what the author's message is, etc...) Those are all things we've spent weeks learning since Oct, so it's not like I just introduced them.

Each day, I modeled on the overhead how I would write the title at the top, the date, and then thought aloud as I responded. My main goals for them were to be able to state their idea and then give plenty of examples to support it.

I hung each response with a post-it stating topic (Ex: Tell how your...

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No title
Posted by:NCteacher #134135

For the last few years, I have had my kids writing reader's response letters- in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. They write a weekly letter to me about a book. They must be 2 paragraphs long and the first paragraph must have the title of the book,underlined, the author's name and the main idea stated in no more than 2 sentences. The other paragraph is reserved for their thinking about the book, what the liked, disliked, etc. The biggie with that one is getting them to explain WHY they felt that way. They have gotten really good at this. I write each of them back and it is really cool to have this private conversation going on all year between me and each of my students. It is tedious and time consuming to answer their letters, but that does help motivate them- they love getting the letters back from me....

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No title
Posted by:Linda/OH #134136

Right now we're just responding by completing graphic organizers. Our focus was on describing characters last week so they had a character chart to fill out. this week it'll be a story map. I will start the friendly letter a bit later where students write in their reading response notebooks to me about their reading. I write back. It is a wonderful way to communicate about reading. sometimes it's more open ended, sometimes with a prompt to get them started. I model many times before expecting this using class read alouds and making class charts for anchors. This is largely from Fountas & Pinnell's work.

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That sounds fine
Posted by:Ms. Teacher#1 #134137

I give 10 to 15 minutes. I give them prompts which helps them to start right away. Since students use sticky notes while reading, they just remove them and use them to help them with their journal response. It's been going great so far :D.

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Reading Journals
Posted by:sue81 #1078

I am not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I do reading journals. I cut a spiral notebook in half each student gets a half. The reason behind this is they don't get overwhelmed with a page of a whole notebook. Sometimes I assign 1 page (which is 1/2 a page) and sometimes I assign 2 pages. I have attached a list of some of the ideas I use.

Download: reading journal ideas.doc (27.136 KB)

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Posted by:NJ Teacher #134138

I assign my journals as homework. What helped me was to have the kids assigned a specific day of the week to turn theirs in, so that I am only looking at 5 or so over a 4 day period. I bought those 10 cent spiral notebooks from Target that have different colored covers. Students with a red cover would be due Tuesday, green students on Wednesday, purple students on Thursday, and blue students on Friday. I have also used different stickers to assign groups. Students may write in their journals any day of the week, but I only collect that specific group on the day it's due. What I did find hard to keep track of was the year I tried in-class book letters as part of Reading Workshop as part of books they were reading in class. Responding to lit. group books, plus doing book letters on independent reading,...

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I made notebooks for my second
Posted by:iluv2nd #835

graders this year. I used the binding machine and printed the front and back cover on cardstock. I printed primary lined paper for the filler. Sometimes we glued things on blank pages. I find that binders are tough to use everyday. They are difficult to write in and the looseleaf paper rips out easily. I used the commercially publish spiral response notebooks produced by Fountas and Pinnell when I taught third and fourth grade. They held up great and had all of the support stuff from the book (Guiding Readers and Writers) included (book logs, writing topic ideas, etc.). I think they cost about $6 each a few years ago.

Download: response_notebook.doc (61.952 KB)

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reply to Azure...
Posted by:iteach4th #134141

I'll try to answer your questions....

First of all, note that my kids are 4th graders, but here's what I do. We write many letters together about short picture books we read and discuss. By the time I ask the students to write their own letters to me, they've heard and seen many possibilities. I do, also, have a list of the requirements and possible reflections in their reading journal for them to refer to if needed. Once we get started, I always share some good, thoughtful letters that I've received (with the author's permission, of course!). We check to be sure that person has included all of the required parts. That is really powerful, and the kids always try to mimic the "good" letters. Also, they are always so excited to read the letters I write back to them....

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Posted by:teach4fun #134143

journaling , illustrations, add a new character to the story, make a new ending, draw a new cover, write themselves into the story

we have a reading journal that we use. for example this week a decodable story was a about a cat in a tree that only comes down for cat food... we wrote on the board "Jan's cat came down for the cat food. I would come down out of the tree ONLY for _________." We talked about their most favorite foods and that is what they wrote in the _____. At the beginning of the year it is just a blank and then as the year goes on they write more and more and then at the end of the year we have them retell the story in their own words. :) So your second could choose any of the above writing choices and the starting 1st can start with...

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Response Journals
Posted by:Angel Star #134075

I hope that you can all help me out with my thinking about responding to books...

Reading Workshop in my classroom in its fourth year of evolution and as I learn more, I try to incorporate more. One thing I know for sure is that the more kids read (just-right books), the better readers they become. This became very clear to me when this year, the third grade teacher came to me and said, "I've got to come see what you are doing in Reading. None of the kids are "low" readers this year. They are all reading so well".

The change I had made last year was toward more of an Independent Reading Workshop. My mini-lessons focused on phonics, grammar, and reading skills (compare/contrast, problem/solution, etc., whatever was in the teacher's manual) (This was before I knew about the strategies)....

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Revisiting Response Journals
Posted by:Angel Star #134208

After much thought and listening to all of your wonderful advice, I decided to abandon the "response journals". I had to think about what I wanted the kids to do and why I wanted them to do it. I had to ask myself, "what's good for the kids?". What I realized was this:

1. I want the kids to think when they read and to be aware of their thinking and use comprehension strategies- this is being accomplished through our interactive reading and "think alouds". The kids do really good thinking and do an incredible job verbalizing that thinking.

2. I want the kids to do this thinking independently - this was where I got stuck in the first place. How do I know that they are doing it? What evidence do I have? Starting today, I asked the kids to put at least 3 post-its in the books they are reading...

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Posted by:BookMuncher #134209

Your situation sounds complicated! I think it's a personal preference and depends on the class you have, how accountable they need to be. My opinion is that, from where you are in this school year with this group, maybe you should continue doing what you were doing at the beginning of the year. It sounds like it was working for you and your kids? A new year will give you a new start and more time to examine both what you believe about reading and responding to reading as well as what that would look like in your classroom.

If you've read my recent blog on responses, you'd see that they weren't going that great for me. I was in a major "dip" for a few weeks. But I made some adjustments and last week was a great week. Then again, I had this group writing open responses in first grade, I modeled it till my face was...

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What makes a good reading response?
Posted by:BookMuncher #132133

What makes a good, solid reading response? What should I expect from my first graders? How can I tell the difference between responses that further understanding and responses that don't push the child anywhere new? Can responses push the child somewhere new?

These are all questions I've been struggling with every Wednesday, when I ask my kids to take a time out from reading and respond to something they have been "doing a lot of thinking work on lately."

So today, I've carried some of their journals home with me and I'd like to post their responses for YOU to respond to. I've tried to bring a wide variety of books home, even though I'll cringe to post some of this. :o With the top questions in mind, I'd love your thoughts on reading responses -- or "talk backs" as...

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Responses Revisited
Posted by:BookMuncher #133796

Wasn't it this time last year I posted a similar blog, called What makes a good reading response? It must be that talk backs start out strong and full of energy, but as they go on, that energy drains a little. One of my biggest barriers seems to be finding different ways to breathe new life into our weekly talk backs. Do I expect too much? I'm starting to think so. Read some of these 2nd grade responses and see what you think:

I've put the below responses into categories (Excellent, Medicore, Off Track) because I need your help! Am I being too tough? Is there something more I could be doing to help my students' brilliant ideas match their writing? So far, what I've tried is:

modeling talk backs by writing back and forth with the teacher down...

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