How to Introduce Reading Response Journals (Kindergarten – Third Grade): Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

August 8, 2011

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Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: Silly Tilly by Eileen Spinelli

Why we love this book:

This week we are introducing Reading Response Journals. One of our main goals this week is for children to embrace the belief that reading is FUN! Accordingly we’re going to start the year with an abundance of read alouds that are FUN and ENTERTAINING! Silly Tilly is a goose that entertains the rest of the barn yard animals with her silliness.

Additionally, Silly Tilly is the perfect reminder for us adults to value the strengths of all children. Being silly is not a strength that is often valued in academic settings (homeschool or public school). However, in Jenifer Fox’s book, Your Child’s Strengths,  I learned to look at the strengths of children differently. Now, I see Tilly’s silly entertaining antics as a strength that can motivate and facilitate learning.

Introducing Reading Response Journals


Did you collect your supplies last week?

1. Notebook: inexpensive spiral notebook, blank paper bound into a notebook or reading response paper bound into a notebook

2. Pencils

3. Colored Pencils, crayons, or markers

4. Books, Books, Books

  • fiction, nonfiction, easy, just right and challenge books


Classroom – In the classroom, I had tables. Even when I had individual student desks, I pushed them together to create tables. On the first day of school, I had one basket of books on each table. Each basket contained books of different reading levels.

Homeschool - We also have book baskets. MacGyver’s book basket contains easy, just right and challenge books geared towards his reading level. His book basket has changed through the years.

Preschool & Kindergarten - Miss Enigma is preschool age this year. This is the first year she will have a book basket. It is for the pure enjoyment of books. It will be full of easy reader books and also some of her favorite picture books. You can print FREE easy reader books right here at

Mini Lesson:

1. How to read quietly and independently for 15 minutes. “Silent Reading” is unrealistic for young children. A better approach is to teach the children how to read in a quiet voice.

2. How to write the date and the title of the book.

3. “Draw a picture of your story.I set high expectations for the quality of printing and illustrations.

That’s it for the first week. This may not seem like much. But this week is all about setting high expectations, establishing routines and reading for enjoyment!

Reading Response Journal, MacGyver, age 8

Reading Response Journal, Miss Enigma, age 4

As usual, Miss Enigma is invited to participate in our homeschool lessons. However, at age 4, she is NOT required to complete the learning activities. Miss Enigma selected My Umbrella Day, a waddlee-ah-chaa FREE printable book, to “read” independently. She was given a choice a blank paper or the same Reading Response Paper as her brother. She picked the Reading Response paper and drew a picture of the umbrella.

If you and your children are over-achievers, you might want to move onto a simple Reading Response:

I like the part about _____________________________________.

My favorite  part of the book was ___________________________.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more organization tips, mini-lessons and Reading Response prompts. Happy reading!

We’re GIVING AWAY one copy of  Silly Tilly by Eileen Spinelli

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

Do you have a Silly Tilly in your family? Ours is Miss Enigma. That little girl is unbelievable witty and funny. She keeps us laughing!  Everyone needs a Silly Tilly in their life! (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, August 11, 2011

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, August 12, 2011. Check back it might be you!

Giveaway Day

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara August 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Our fourth child, Silas (who is 4) is our Silly Tilly!

Misty August 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm

My daughter is silly & ducks are her absolute favorite!

domestic diva August 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

My little guy is definitely silly. he keeps us all laughing.

Robin August 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

My granddaughter is so silly and quick witted, we never know what she will say next. It rained (in Florida) and it made large mud puddles, and of course she had to roll up her pants and and tromp through it, she then turned and told her mother ” I love puddy muddle!”

Alice August 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Both my kids are silly, I’m not sure either one is more than the other!

Natalie August 9, 2011 at 1:02 am

I think every young child can be silly even a relatively serious one like my daughter. Thanks for the giveaway and writing response ideas!

Stasia August 9, 2011 at 11:31 am

Ours is our middle child who is 4 years old. I try to write down the funny things he says so he can read them when he gets older.

Merelyn - Real Kid Friendly August 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I like your post from August 2010 that talks about Fox’s book!

Ceylan August 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

My daughter will be so appreciative and grateful if she wins this book. Thank you for offering a giveaway.

Adriana August 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

Our Silly Tilly is the youngest (5), Bradlee. The things this kid can come up with!

Tiffany August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Our two year old would be ours. He is actually quite serious but the things that come out of his mouth and the stuff he does always keeps us laughing.

Min August 17, 2011 at 9:59 am

Our 5 year old is so silly, she calls me “Silly Goose!”

Amanda July 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Our youngest daughter is our Silly Tilly. She keeps us laughing and on our toes all day long!

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