Reading response journals are a place where students respond to literature by recording their thoughts, feelings, reactions, and questions about the book they are reading.
The content of student response journals can help you assess and develop their reading abilities and behaviors. Patterns of journal responses also help the teacher determine what guidance in instruction they need next.
Writing quality responses to literature also encourages higher order thinking skills.
Process When writing a reading response journal the student should consider the following:
Your reading journal is a place for you to record your thoughts, reactions, feelings and questions about the book you are reading. The questions below may help to stimulate your thinking and help to show you some areas in which you may not have thought of writing about before. Don't try to answer everything, pick one or two areas you feel are important and write about them. Don't give a detailed plot summary; rather try to think and react with your feelings and mind to what you read.
Questions: What didn't you understand? Why do you think the author did something in a particular way? If you had been the author, would you have had anything different happen? How could you improve this book? Did you like the conclusion? What was special about the book? Do you have a favorite character or part or scene?
Quotations: Is there a part of the book you feel is an example of good writing? Why? Do you have a favorite saying or quote from the book?
Reactions: Write about your reactions to the book and why you feel this way. How do you feel about the book in general? Do you recommend others to read it? Why?
Experiences: Does the book remind you of anything in your own life? Write about these experiences. Do you know of other books that are like this one? How is it alike or different?
Evaluation: Are there things about the way the author did things in this book that you liked or disliked? How would you compare this book to others you have read by the same or different author?
Characters: Who were the main characters? Did you like them? Were they believable? Were they like anyone you know? Did they change in any way in the story? What kind of people are they? Is anything did right or wrong? What is your opinion of the characters?
Mood: How did you feel while reading this book? Why? What was the funniest/saddest incident? What was the most exciting/unusual or mysterious incident? What do you remember most about the story? Does the mood of the story change? how?
Author: Why do you think the author wrote the book? What is the author trying to tell us? Have you read other books by this author? Are you going to read other books by this author? Why?
Writing: What did you learn about writing from reading this book? Does the book give you any ideas for writing your own story?
Predictions: How do you think the book will end? Was your prediction similar to the resolution of the story? How were your predictions different? Why?