Responding To Text

Directions: Read the assigned selection and write a response in your Novel Section of your Portfolio. I am giving you an example of what I expect you to write.

Begin the Initial response with the book title and the date of your journal entry. Then simply date each response for that novel each time you write.


Book Title:______________ Nov. 2/yr

Use Responding Journals (make a separate section in your Portfolio marked Reading Responses) These are intended to elicit deeper meaning and understandings of what you are reading.

I want you to react to what you read in four ways. You do not have to keep writing the words reflect, connect, predict and question. Just make paragraphs beginning with full statements like: I predict ... Some things I wonder about....I felt...I thought.. It didn't matter to me... etc.

The following example is from The Friday Everything Changed by Ann Hart

1. Reflect - I felt it was brave of Alma to speak up and ask Ms. Ralston why the girls didn't get to carry the water. But what happened next surprised me. I didn't think it was right for Ms. Ralston to leave her students slug it out over the next week. I guess she felt they'd get it out of their system and she did tell them she would think about it until next Friday, so she was true to her word. The students sort of worked off their anger and as the author said it helped the girls get closer and get to know each other better.

2. Connect- When I was in grade 4, I used to play ball with the boys. Mostly because the ball field was on our land and I felt I had a right to play. The boys always resented my playing and would do everything they could to get me out. They cheated and yelled, but I stood my ground. I know how the girls felt about inequality. It wasn't right that they didn't get to carry the water and I felt it wasn't right that girls weren't allowed to play ball.

Another connection I had with this story is that when I went to school we had attached seats. Two people sat together most of the year. I always got stuck with the worst boy in the class. Inevitably, he would put his trash in my side of the desk drawer or he would put bugs on my neck. They would always take my pens and erasers without asking permissiion. (This story reminds me of the novel The Pit because......)

3. Question - I wonder why Ms. Ralston didn't get involved with her students fighting? I would find it hard to let them go and be mean to each other. I also couldn't figure out why the boys didn't try to get back at Alma more, but I guess locking her in the outhouse was bad enough. Would they get in more trouble if they did worse things to her? Did Ms. Ralston really respect the students or was she figuring out how to get the girls to carry the bucket because she was on their side all along?

4. Predict - I think that Ms. Ralston will help the boys see that girls can do anything they can do. I think she'll come into class carrying the water bucket one morning or maybe two water buckets. Then they'll know girls are equal.


Some other things to do in your respond section. These are suggestions only.
  • Describe one scene fully and tell why you thought it was terrific or terrible. Make sure you have details of everything that took place and your reactions to each detail.
  • Ask questions about things that confuse you or that you wonder about.
  • Describe your feelings about the events.
  • Describe your feelings about characters.
  • Copy down a quote from a character and tell why you think it' s meaningful.
  • Describe your favorite part thoroughly.
  • Make a prediction about what will happen next.
  • Tell how you would react if you were one of the characters in the story. Tell what you would do differently and why. How would that action change the story outcome?
  • Describe a part that surprised you and tell what this part made you feel like? How do you view the characters now?
  • Did you ever have similar experiences?
  • Does a character remind you of some other character you met in another novel?
  • Does the author use any strong imagery in the story? (similes, metaphors, etc.) Give examples.
  • Write a letter to the author or a character.
  • Draw pictures or create graphic organizers.


You can change the order of the above. For example sometimes you can begin with some questions you have. Or you can put the questions in with your reflections. Make your writing real reactions not rote thoughts. Examine the issues in the book. Connect to other books you have read. Keep in mind the whole idea is to READ and WRITE! To gain deeper understanding from what you are reading.

I gratefully thank Katherine L. Schlick Noe for her kind permission to use some of the ideas from her site.



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