Areas of Expertise


Adolescent Literacy

Reading Strategies

Reading Response Journals

Grades 3–6: Teaching comprehension, genre, and content literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hopkins, G. (1999). Journal writing everyday: Teachers say it really works. Wallingford, CT: Education World. Retrieved April 29, 2005, from


The strategy Reading Response Journaling has been successfully used as a means for students to express their thoughts, feelings, and reactions about what they have been reading. The journals are also an aid to teachers as they assess students' comprehension and critical-thinking abilities. (Hopkins, 1999)


Students are told that they are to always write down the title and author of the book as well as the date. It is expected that at least one thoughtful response is written each week during independent reading or homework time and that these responses are at least one page in length. Each response is to be proofread and edited as necessary. In the beginning, the teacher models the strategy by using his or her own response journal.


The Web site above has listed the qualities of a well-written response as well as many ideas for topics. Some of these suggest that the students might make predictions about what will happen next, explain why they liked or disliked the text, or write a personal reaction to the story.


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