Reading Response Journal - For Independent Reading in Readers Workshop - Mrs. B's First Grade

Reading Response Journal - For Independent Reading in Readers Workshop

As a reading workshop teacher, my kids are independently and partner reading for at least 30 minutes during our day. I confer with them weekly and conduct small groups when needed. My kids do a great job of tracking their reading with our tracking sheets. Sometimes they need something else though. Something to keep them accountable and for them to process their thinking. That is where I came up with our reading response journals!
I follow Teachers College framework for reader's workshop. For my first graders, our daily reading schedule usually looks like this:

  • 15 minute Mini Lesson
  • 30 minute Independent and Partner Reading (I conduct conferences and small groups)
  • 5 - 10 minute Closing

As you can see, the majority of this block has kids on their own.

That can be tough if a student doesn't have a conference or group that day.

This can cause them to lack focus while reading. Which causes them to not work on the strategy taught in the mini lesson, or other strategies. Which makes the independent reading time much less effective.

Insert the reading response journal!



I thought about how I could make this time more meaningful, while still being able to do what I needed to do during the time.

My solution was to create a reading response journal.

I wanted it to be simple enough that they could complete it independently.
I wanted it to be easily adaptable to fiction / nonfiction and various types of books.
I wanted it to be easily differentiated among young students - where some are still drawing pictures and others are writing paragraphs.

I created two versions. One for my lower students and one for my higher ones. I printed out the journals, used the comb binder, and handed them out.


You would have thought it was Christmas!

The kids were so excited to have a journal of their own. Some, obviously, more than others.

I decided to make it optional.

I told my kids that when they had five pages completed they could come to me to get it checked at the end of writer's workshop time.

I simply put stars at the top and let them pick one thing from the treasure box.

My kids started completing page after page after page. And - completing it well! Not just doing it to be done.



I had several kids finish the journal quickly - and wanted a new one!

So, from here on out, my reader's workshop will always include reading response journals. If you would like to add them to yours - click the picture below to check out more about them!

Do you have something similar in your classroom? I would love to hear about it!


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