5 Step-by-Step Lessons for Starting Reading Response Journals: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

August 20, 2013

Step by Step Lessons for Introducing Reading Response Journals from waddleeahchaa.com

Week at a Glance

  • Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore
  • Supplies needed for Reading Response Journals
  • Step by step how to introduce Reading Response Journals
  • How to take Reading Response Journals to the Next Level
  • Reading Response Projects

The Wonderful Book

Book of the Week: The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore

Why we love this book:

It’s fun and it celebrates books. What better way to start Reading Response Journals?!  I read to my kiddos every day (just like I did in the classroom). I like to do a read aloud each day and then follow with a reading mini-lesson. The Wonderful Book is light and silly. Perfect for reading aloud to children.

The Wonderful Book

One Sunny Day, Rabbit spies something wonderful in the woods. (It’s a book.) Rabbit makes the something wonderful a cozy home and wriggles right in. Until a big growly bear comes along and turns it into a hat. He struts around happily until he loses it searching for snacks. The book travels from animal to animal and takes on many forms. Until a child finds the book and begins reading aloud. Soon, all of the animals gather around and all decide it is a wonderful book. What better message is there than a wonderful book message?

Step by Step Lessons – Reading Response Journals

Reading Response Journals

I originally did a series on Reading Response Journals a couple of years ago. In the past, Miss Enigma did a simplified version of Reading Response Journals. This year she is 6-years old and we are officially diving into independent reading and Reading Response Journals. Since I’m busy gathering up supplies and planning lessons for myself, I thought I would do one post linking to all of the Reading Response lessons. If you click on the links in this post, you’ll find the step-by-step lessons, helpful hints, organization ideas, samples and FREE printables.

Reading Response, I like

Planning Ahead Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

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

book boxes homeschool organization

Planning  Ahead Step 2: How to Organize Your Books

Book shelves are actually hard to keep tidy and they make it hard to locate books. Our books are organized by category. Sorting the books into categories and having them all face forward makes them much easier to browse through and to keep organized. One box is left empty, designating it for library books. This makes locating and returning library books much less of a hassle.

Reading Response Journal Lesson 1

Step by Step How to Introduce Reading Response Journals

mini-lesson 1: How to write the date, title of book and draw an illustration.

  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.

Reading Response Book Basket

mini-lesson 1 continued: How to Create and Organize Book Boxes for Children


Reading Response: I Like

mini lesson 2: Introducing Reading Response Prompts

   1. Read aloud

  • I read aloud to the children every day.
  • Often, I pick the book to teach a specific literacy concept.
  • Other times, I select a book related to our theme studies.
  • Before reading, I tell the children I want them to keep an eye out for their favorite part of the story, “Today you are going to pick your favorite part of the story. When the story is over, we’ll each share our favorite part.”

2. Reading Response

  • I like the part about _____________________.
  • For homeschool, I write these reading responses on small strips of paper for my children to copy.
  • In the classroom, I write these reading responses on a sentence strip and post it for all of the children to copy.

Reading Response Strips: FREE printable

For homeschool, these reading response strips can be run on card stock. As the reading responses are introduced they can be added to a book ring. (I’ve made these for you, if you’d like to print them for FREE.)

10 Book Giveaway

mini-lesson 3: Teaching Children How to make a good book choice.

  1.  Introduce the concept of Easy, Just Right and Challenge books.
  2. Children learn how make their own book choices each day.

Reading Response, double entry

mini- lesson 4: How to Take Reading Response Journals to the Next Level

  1. Read Aloud 
  2. Introduce Double Entry Reading Response: I like the part about ___________.   WHY?
  3. Before reading the book aloud, I tell the children they will each share their favorite part of the story and they’ll have to explain WHY that is their favorite part. The “WHY” is the important part!

Island of the Blue Dolphins

mini-lesson 5: Reading Response Project for Older Children

Reading Response Journals evolve as children become more familiar with reading responses and begin to read more advanced books.

  1. Do a Book Talk allowing children to make their own book selection
  2. While reading Island of the Blue Dolphins, MacGyver kept note of important characters, the setting, the problem and the solution to the story.
  3. In his reading response journal MacGyver wrote a summary of the book.
  4. I edited the corrections.
  5. MacGyver typed his summary in publisher.
  6. I taught MacGyver how to type, insert photos and cut & paste in Publisher. He created a comprehensive notebook on Island of the Blue Dolphins. This notebook greatly increased his understanding of the story.

The Wonderful Book

We’re GIVING AWAY one Hardcover Copy of The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore

To enter this contest, use the Rafflecopter to answer the following question. After you leave a comment, you can move ahead with more entries.

Answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What book do you think is the most wonderful book? It doesn’t have to be a kid’s book.  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

No entries after 11:59 pm Central Time, Sunday, August 25, 2013

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Monday, August 26, 2013. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin August 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Love Reading response Journals.. I do this in Pre-K. The children draw the picture of their favorite part and I write what they say.

Ellie August 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

The most wonderful book?! OK, here are a few nominations:

The Little Prince
Madeline, and Madeline’s Rescue
Where The Wild Things Are
Make Way For Ducklings
Winnie the Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass
A Wizard of Earthsea (& sequels)
Little House in the Big Woods (& sequels)
Tuck Everlasting
Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm
The Hobbit
Charlotte’s Web
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
The Little House
The Lorax
Zen Shorts
The Famished Road (by Nigerian author Ben Okri — this one is not a kid’s book)
The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver — also not a kid’s book)
A Portrait of a Lady (Henry James — also not a kid’s book)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime (Mark Haddon)
The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be (Farley Mowat)

We love to read in our family, so thanks for highlighting a book that celebrates books!

Tara H August 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm

I’ve always loved The Giving Tree. My boys LOVE The Tickle Monster; we have furry monster gloves to wear while reading it, and they absolutely adore it.

Jamie August 21, 2013 at 11:55 am

I think the story “Taka-Chan and I” (by Betty Jean Lifton) is one of the most wonderful children’s books ever. Happily, it has come back in print recently, so a new generation of kids can read it.

Candis August 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I am so grateful for these ideas! There are too many books to love but I am excited to read this one that is new to me. I did my Masters thesis on the importance of reading response dialogue journals with my second grade students and I love your suggestions of ways to do them now as I begin homeschooling.

Tiffany August 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I cannot pick just one book. May start something with my 4-yr-old this year along these lines. He keeps asking to do school so maybe we can use a reading response journal and he can draw while I read each day. I would never start “school” this early if he weren’t asking.

Jeannine August 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

Jamie, You’ve intrigued me . . . I have not heard of Taka-Chan and I. Took a peek at amazon. Now, I’ll have to see if our library has it. I’m always ready to read a new book!

Jeannine August 22, 2013 at 7:08 am

Candis, Hope you have a wonderful year with your children and journals. I have also done dialogue style journals with my son. It’s on my list to post! He absolutely loves writing back and forth. I love the conversations about what we are reading.

Jeannine August 22, 2013 at 7:09 am

Reading every day and drawing . . . what a perfect way to start “school” with 4-year-old!

Natalie August 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Please don’t enter me in a giveaway, but I wanted to say that this post is wonderful, and I’ll share it on FB with my readers. There are so many great books, it’s difficult to choose most “wonderful”. Right now my 6 year old daughter (a very advanced reader) thinks that Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan are the best books ever.

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