Reading Response Notebooks

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I have been using reading response notebooks for a few years now and I love how students are able to track their work and make a "literature portfolio" of their entire school year. Here's a brief snapshot on how I use these in my class! 
Reading Response Notebooks
First, students add to their reading response notebooks consistently throughout the year based on the reading comprehension skill or strategy that we are focusing on for the week.  This is what the student's reading response notebooks look like.  
 The first lesson that I do with the students explores the difference between fiction and nonfiction genres.  This activity (as seen below) allows students to brainstorm elements of each genre and differentiate between the two.  

Nonfiction Activities
I have the students do different things to record information when reading nonfiction.  
Here students complete a "T" chart where they record facts they already know and questions they currently have about the topic.
I have all the prompts for the reader's notebooks typed in the following format (saves copies) which I then cut apart with the paper cutter.  Students just glue them into their response notebooks. In the example below, students make the distinction between fact and opinion through writing both facts that they have researched and opinions they form while reading.
Another option for students when using their reader's notebooks-nonfiction, is for the students to make a brochure (as seen below) that displays information that they are currently learning about. Students just tape the brochure into their notebooks so that they have it for future reference.
This student also glued in a map that they completed while reading the non-fiction story "Rattlers" that compliments the informational brochure seen on the right.  

Fiction Activities
Usually, I teach a mini-lesson on the concept we will be focusing on for that day. Students are able to independently work in their
notebooks while I am working with small groups on other skills.  Eventually as the year goes by, students will not necessarily need a mini-lesson before diving into their reader's notebook.
The following picture shows a modeled lesson I did with students on drawing conclusions.  As a class, we chorally read a paragraph and then drew conclusions based upon what we had read.  This served as a "shared writing" opportunity with the students since we completed this together. 
I use the following grading rubric during each grading period to show parents during conferences.  Grab your copy by clicking on the picture below.

Both my Fiction AND Nonfiction materials are bundled together in the link seen below. :)


  1. This is so wonderful! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I think this is a great idea. However, I have a few questions. What grade do you teach, how long are your classes and how many times a week do you teach a new skill? Sorry for so many questions, but this will be my first year teaching and the school I'll be working at wants us to incorporate this idea.

    1. Hi Skyler! I teach 5th grade, however I have used this notebook with 2nd on up. My golden rule is to try and have the students do at least ONE notebook entry a week, so I do focus on ONE skill a week. (Possibly two if I feel that my students need more practice!) Hope that helps! :)

  3. Where do you get your question cards for responses?

  4. I just purchased and am starting to set up the table of contents. Can you post an example of your table of contents and the order the skills are taught? I'm trying to make sense of the materials and incorporating it into planning for the year.


Please leave a comment! I love to hear what my readers think of the posts. :) Thanks in advance!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top