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Create a Reading Response Journal

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In the main lesson, you learned to make annotations on a piece of text.

In this extension, you will engage in critical thinking with your annotations by creating a reading response journal.

A reading response journal, also called double-entry or dialectical journals, is a document where you record passages from a text and write questions or reactions as you read.

To start, open Google Docs and create a blank document.

Then, give it a title.

Type and format your heading.

On the next line, add a table with two columns and at least six rows.

On the left side of the journal, you’ll write the quotes or passages from the reading.

On the right side you’ll add your reactions.

Add table headers to the first row of the table.

Next, open one of the starter projects.

Choose the text you haven’t already annotated.

Then, start your journal by reading the text.

As you read, stop at a passage that interests, entertains, or surprises you, or you have questions about.

Copy the passage or quote, and paste it into the second row of your table.

If the quote is from a longer work, such as a novel or a play, include a page number or an act and scene.

For a short story or an excerpt, you might include a paragraph number.

Then, add your reaction to the passage.

You might ask a question to research further, comment on a character’s behavior, predict what will happen next provide a feeling about how you might respond in this situation, reflect on a broader meaning in the text or in the world, connect your own life to the passage, or clarify an earlier question or reaction.

Make sure your reactions are specific and detailed.

Continue reading the text, stopping frequently to reflect on what you’re reading.

You might also highlight passages that demonstrate a pattern in the story, describe a character’s background or personality, explain the setting, or relate to your own life.

Include at least five entries in your journal.

Reading response journals are a good way to keep track of your reactions to and thoughts about what you read.

They also help your teacher evaluate your understanding of the text.

After you finish your journal, share it with your teacher.

Add your teacher’s email address.

Then, select the permission you want to use: Edit means the person you share with can make changes directly in your document.

Comment allows them to make comments, but not change the document.

And view lets them see your document only.

Select comment, and share the document.

Nice work!

Now, it’s your turn: Open Google Docs, and create a new document with a title, heading, and two-column table.

Choose a piece of fiction or nonfiction for your journal, or use a starter project.

As you read, copy passages from the document and paste them into the left column of your table.

Write your responses on the right side.

Include at least five passages in your journal, and share the document with your teacher.

Choose an extension
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Students create a dialectical journal, or reading response journal, on a fiction piece to prepare for an assignment or class discussion.

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