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  • Writer's pictureJessica Kaminski

ELA: Intermediate Reading Journals (Grades 3-6)

Updated: Dec 1, 2019

I spoke with several teachers on Sunday about the basics of Guided Reading using Jan Richardson's The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading. You can check out the Facebook live session by joining by group page here at this link.

One thing I mentioned was using Reading Journals to keep all of the work in one place. This has been such a great tool for a few reasons. One, it keeps everything nice and organized. Two, it allows students to track their progress with reading logs and journal entries. Three, it's a great assessment tool for teachers to see how students progress throughout the year. Simple guided reading strategies can be taught in the Guided Reading section and then implemented in the Independent Reading section.

I have a composition notebook split into three sections using tabs. The Independent Reading section houses reading responses and a reading log. Students have a table of contents to keep everything nice and organized. The Guided Reading section is where we keep the activities from each lesson we do. Word Work contains any vocabulary or phonics work that students might do during their literacy block or during Guided Reading.

As I've stated before, I copy these at the beginning of school. They are printed on half sheets of paper so they will fit in a composition notebook. Sometimes, I can wrangle an amazing volunteer into cutting them and gluing them into notebooks for the students. Other times, I have had them cut apart and the students work to glue them down during the first few weeks of school.

Then, I begin doing some whole group lessons where I model each reading response. These are done on chart paper and then stored in the classroom for students to access them whenever they need an example. Once the response has been taught, it's time to use it. I typically have students do 3 reading responses a week. Usually, I require the letter writing activity as one of them, but the students may choose the remaining two.

In order not to drown in notebooks, I developed a rotation where I graded 4-5 notebooks a day. This allowed me to see what students were doing once a week, and I only had to pick up certain journals that afternoon. For example, students 1-5 knew they turned their journals in on Monday.

Reading journals can be done in the primary grades, as well. I think it's great to encourage students to organize their work. I would divide a primary notebook into two sections: Guided Reading and Word Work. Then, we would work towards doing some independent reading responses built around their reading level.

With all this in mind, virtual reading notebooks can be done too. It would be easy for students to use a device to record their information. However, keep in mind that there is evidence that students who WRITE are found to REMEMBER. So, definitely encourage some writing in there!

If you would like to access the 14 half-pages for an intermediate Reader's Notebook, click here to download your FREE copy!

If you have taken a look at my blog or website, you know that I have been focusing on math lately. It's been so great to head back to reading, especially as I prepare for teaching Kindergarten next year and while I've been working with a 1st grader this summer. HOWEVER, I'm super excited about my current project that I can't wait to share with you soon! All this reading has me thinking about how to apply it to word problems. I'm working on a resource that I think is going to change the way you think about teaching math word problems! I'm SO EXCITED! Thank you to my new friends I have met on here who have encouraged me to dive back into reading!

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