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Laura Robb
Reading Workshop: Easy-to-Introduce Journal Responses

For me, response journals inform me about students' levels of comprehension, their ability to connect books to their lives, and how well they can select story details to support an idea. First, model how you set up a journal page and go about responding to each suggestion; then, reserve time for students to practice before moving them to independence. Use prompts. Post these on chart paper. Prompts should invite students to dig deeper into a book, stirring them to make emotional connections, explore the significance of the theme for them, and unearth students' feelings about characters.

  • Identify the main character, list several problems he or she faces, and explain how the problem was solved. If the problem wasn't solved, explain why and tell how you might have solved it.
  • Summarize and evaluate two or three decisions the main character made.
  • Select an important quote from the story, explain how you connected to the quote from the story, and show how the quote relates to a theme, conflict, or character in the text.
  • Choose a minor character and show how he or she was important to the plot, main character, or themes.
  • Select three key events and show how each provided insight into a character's personality.
  • List several things that you value or that are important to you. List your favorite character's values. Compare and contrast lists, pointing out similarities and differences.
  • Visualize a scene or a character and use illustrations or words to help others see your mental images.


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