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Keeping a Reader's Journal

Standards: A reader’s journal has the potential to demonstrate student mastery of all the standards for Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, and Language, in addition to W2, W4, W9, W10.

Throughout an academic unit, students select a designated number of texts and vocabulary words from the assigned readings and employ a variety of active-reading and vocabulary acquisition strategies that demonstrate the depth and breadth of their reading.

Unless otherwise noted, student should not include in their Reader’s Journal the notes, graphic organizers, or annotated texts that were completed together in the classroom. Ideally, a reader’s journal is a record of a student’s independent reading.

Consider adapting these directions developed for students in an ELA course:


1) The first step is broad and brief: pre-read the text. Ask yourself what you might know about the author or the topic; think about the title; notice the date of publication and the source because these details provide a social context for the work and can provide clues to the author’s purpose. Make predictions about what this text will say and do.


2) The second step is to read the text, just to get the literal meaning or central idea.


3) The third step is to re-read the text actively, with pencils, highlighters, and/or digital annotation tools. This is where you review the literal meaning, notice the ways in which the text is put together, pay close attention to the diction, syntax, and structure for things that stand out, read between the lines to infer an author’s tone, purpose, and possible biases. You begin to see patterns. You judge the text. You connect this text to other texts, and to what you know, think, and believe. A reader’s journal is a record of this process. Ideally, you start each entry at step 3.


Introduce or review active reading strategies such as annotation, graphic organizers, and note-taking. The Reading link at this site stores guidelines and handouts for each active reading strategy.


In addition, a reader’s journal can include a collection of vocabulary words from the independent readings. Share with students a collection of vocabulary acquisition strategies.


Share in advance of the due date the reader’s journalrubric.