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Reading Response Journals

Monday, July 6, 2015
I have been in school the last two years getting my Master's degree.  Here in Kentucky, you have to have your Master's within ten years of your initial certification.  I am about to start year five of teaching and I am almost finished with school.  Finally!

Last semester, I began working on a teacher inquiry project on reading response journals.  I have always had my students respond while reading, but I have yet to come up with a consistent format that I feel really works for my students.  This upcoming year, I plan on implementing reading response journals in my second grade classroom to see if there is any significant impact on their reading comprehension.  I want the journals to be a way for students to take ownership of their reading  I would like for the journals to be a place for them to practice skills and strategies we have learned in class, but also allow them to respond to the text as they feel appropriate.  It has been hard figuring out a way to give up all control, but still make them structured enough to be effective.

Here's where I need your help!  How do you use reading response journals in your classroom?  Or how do you allow students to respond to their reading?  I have seen lots of great ideas for implementing journals including using a double entry journal, diary-style writing, and response prompts.  I am interested in learning about the response types that you have found work well for your classroom.  So share!

Also, how do you assess your students' learning through response journals?  I am thinking about using a rubric to score their weekly journal entries.  I was going to focus on the quality of the response.  For example, do they make connections to the text?  Do they use textual evidence to support their response?  Let me know how you assess your reading response journals.

I will be finishing up the project this fall with my new set of second graders.  I'll keep you all posted along the way about how their comprehension was affected by the reading response journals!


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