Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reading Journal Freebie

Now that I have introduced most of the reading strategies that involve active reading, my students are ready to write about their thinking.  I found this quote and it really struck a chord with me...

Read with a pen in your hand and enter in a little book short hints of what you find that is curious or that might be useful; for this will be the best method of imprinting such particulars in your memory, where they will be ready on some future occasion to adorn and improve your conversation."
-Benjamin Franklin

Visualizing, predicting, asking questions, making connections, summarizing and synthesizing are the key to comprehension at every level.  The problem with young students is that sometimes they are reading to finish a book, and not actively engaging their thinking with what is written on the page.

That is where the active reading notes come into play.  Basically they are like thinking stems, but I have been talking about active reading so much that it has become part of our classroom language.  I'm trying to incorporate depth and complexity strategies so language is now important in our classroom.  We watched this YouTube video to see our brain thinking...

The kids thought it was cool to see different parts change different colors due to activity level.  This lead to an interesting discussion about how different parts of your brain are active when you use different strategies, hence you should use various strategies to strengthen your whole brain. 

So here is another freebie.  I stapled it into the back of each student's reading journal.  So far it is working well.  I'm taking it slow and requiring students to record at least one thought during daily 5 read to self.  Most are writing 2-4 thoughts already.  They code each thought by writing V and circling it for visualizing, P for predicting and so on.  Eventually the goal is to have students write a bit longer about each thought to extend and support their thinking.  How do you have students write about their thinking during reading?

Check out my TPT store for the freebie.

Just a side note... I believe that students need to READ during read to self time and not spend a ton of time writing about reading.  So this system works for me as long as it serves the purpose of encouraging readers to think about their thinking and doesn't become a writing session instead of a reading session.  Just something to consider.


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