George Lucas Educational Foundation

A simple, magical way to bring out the reader in every student!

A simple, magical way to bring out the reader in every student!

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Very simple. A bit time-consuming. (But the time passes so quickly because you're having so much fun!) Here's how I use a reading response journal: For home"work", we read. Then, we record our responses in our notebooks. The children desigate one side as theirs and the other as mine. The students are given many suggestions as to how they may respond to literature. They are also encouraged to respond in their own way. Simply, use whatever moves you! I bring the notebooks home on Friday. I read their page, and happily respond on mine. My responses are all over the place. Some are brief. For example, I may jot down one word, one punctuation mark or one sketch of a happy/sad/confused face. Some other of my responses are elaborate. Many of my youngster's entries have inspired me to fill 'my page' with all sorts of writing. (A poem about a student, a letter to a supportive family, an acknowledgement of a caretaker's positive influence, etc..) And then today, these journals became even more magical to me. One of my students told me that her mnther was so proud of her journal.Her mom took a picture of it and posted it on her Facebook page!!! Wow! My heart! After I basked in the glow of the moment, I was hopeful. Maybe something good could from Facebook!

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pat's picture
Inclusion Teacher, NJ

Do you ever factor these journals into your reading or writing grades? In our District that is what we do, although it goes against everything I believe about teaching children to read and/or write. Our Dir Curriculum will actually pull out random journals and give them back to us if they feel the response is not "enough" or "good". The last thing a child wants to get back is their journal where their "thoughts" are x'ed out by mine! How does it work in your District and I would love to hear from other Districts, as well.

Sarah's picture
Kindergarten teacher from Florida

I really enjoy the idea of a reading response journal. It is a great way to engage students in reading and writing in a different way. I am sure students love reading their teachers responses.

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Editor

Stamping a little dolphin, shooting star, or smiling face next to a piece of writing is a great way to celebrate a child's writing effort.

It terms of accountability, counting pages, or paragraphs still challenges the kids, builds fluency and keeps the journal a safe place where they feel they can let loose with their ideas and writing.

Rebecca Alber

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