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Effectiveness of Response Journals

By Kelly Nicole, eHow Contributor


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Response journals are an effective tool for monitoring student comprehension.

Response journals are written by students who describe their reactions to a book or selection of text assigned by a teacher. The effectiveness of response journaling is high, but only if the teacher gives consistent feedback to each student throughout the process.
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Reading Strategies Journal Writing

Purpose
Resonse journals allow students to connect more deeply with what they are reading.
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Response journals, also known as double-entry journals, reader response logs, or reader notebooks, give teachers a chance to see how their students are responding to an assigned text. This works with whole-class assignments and individual reading

selections, which is one of the reasons why teachers find this method helpful. It can also be used, with appropriate modifications, in elementary, high school and post-secondary courses.

Considerations
Students must think about their connection to the

reading material.

To use response journals, a teacher assigns a piece of text for her students to read independently. Requirements for the quantity of reading are dependent on grade level and student ability, but options could be a chapter of a textbook, a poem, a short story, or a student-selected book. The teacher prepares her students by modeling the type of responses she requires and addressing any concerns about format, quality and quantity of responses. According to the 2005 action research study, "Using Reading Response Journals for Reading Comprehension," these initial discussions directly impact the effectiveness of the response journals, as students must be motivated to actively respond to the text. A student who does not understand the purpose of the assignment will have less opportunity to explore his reactions to the text.

Benefits
Students who actively respond to a text consistently increase their reading and writing skills.
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Each student is responsible for reading the text, then writing short responses to the selection in the form of questions, comments or short summaries of the piece. This encourages vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension. For English language learners, this practice has been identified as one of the most effective strategies for increasing reading and writing skills.

Strategies
Several options are available for teachers who wish to use response journals. Double-entry journals have a twocolumn format, with one column devoted to quotes and the other column devoted to responses to each quote. Reading journals allow students to write responses to entire selections of a text. Students could also pair with one another to discuss their findings and elaborate on any inconsistencies or questions from their independent reading. By including reading, writing, and oral discussion in the process, student work becomes progressively more intricate.
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Conclusion
In analyzing the data and notes, I discovered an underlying factor that seemed to be an important issue in the results. That factor was motivation on the part of the student. I describe motivation here as the desire to read and respond consistently in their reading response journals. If I were to ignore the results of students who were consistently not motivated, I would find the use of reading response journals a worthy strategy to enhance memory and thus increase reading comprehension. Almost all of my motivated students exhibited some positive results. For some, the increases were slight. I do feel that by the end of the year these increases would be greater. The disturbing result was those students who were consistently not wanting to participate. They should not be ignored. These students found keeping the journals too much work, or boring, or just not worth their time. They are also the students in my room that tend to balk at any writing assignment and are slow to finish their work. They found the responding just one more thing to do. With this in mind, I feel that the use of reading response journals is not for every student. Adjustments need to be made for those who find it not for them. Some suggestions I gathered from colleagues were to not have them write daily, allow them to draw about what they read, or vary the writing by giving them specific things to write about. One colleague also suggested a form that they just fill in to cut down on the amount of writing the student had to do. This would also give the student direction on what to write. I shall continue to explore this strategy by trying some of these suggestions.

Free Writing

Free writing is a common journaling technique in which you write about anything and everything that comes to mind, which can remove mental blocks and allow thoughts to flow freely.

Observations

Because journals are often used to describe situations and occurrences, they can assist in sharpening the observational skills of writers. This in turn translates to better descriptions in writing.

Safety

A journal is a safe place for writers, and can often release the fear of judgment by readers. Without that fear, many writers can proceed without inhibitions that limit their writing.

Lack of Rules

In a journal, there is no need to feel bound by traditional writing conventions, which allows a writer to explore new styles and develop her personal voice.

Record of Details

For many people who write for a living, the details of their lives or travels are the subject of many articles. A journal is a way to record notes for future reference, ensuring that reactions and reflections are not lost with time.

Read more: The Effect of a Writing Journal on Writing Skills | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5767378_effect-writing-journal-writingskills.html#ixzz1ndoqMHcL

If you want to grow, one important thing you should do is keeping a journal. It may seem simple, but it can make a big difference in your life.

I myself have been journaling for years. Writing all the lessons I learn and all the ideas I get has become a habit for me. And to be honest, its difficult to imagine how my life would be without it. Here are some benefits you will get by keeping a journal: 1. It trains you to be observant. Once you make journaling a habit, you will develop the habit of being observant in all your experiences. You will get way more ideas and lessons this way. Instead of paying attention to the negative side of things, you pay attention to the positive side to extract lessons from it. Instead of taking things for granted, you look for new ideas that you can implement. 2. It prevents you from losing an idea. Have you ever gotten an idea only to lose it later because you didnt write it down? I often experienced that myself. But then I developed the habit of writing down every idea that comes into my mind as soon as possible. If Im away from my computer, I usually write it down on a piece of paper that I bring wherever I go. I will then transfer the idea to the journal in my computer. 3. It helps you memorize an idea. Even if you do nothing else, the act of writing helps you memorize the idea better. I often remember the things I write down without looking back at my notes. 4. It trains you to express your thoughts. I often take lessons from my experiences and write them down in my journal. Since I want to write a concise statement that summarizes the lesson, I need to think for a while to make it concise. This is a good exercise for me because over time I can express my thoughts better. 5. It helps you expand your ideas. When you try to come up with a sentence to express an idea, you are thinking actively about it. Thinking actively helps you connect your idea to another idea. At the end, you will expand your ideas. 6. It helps you review all the lessons youve learned. Why should you repeat the same mistakes youve made? By reviewing your journal, you can quickly see the lessons youve learned and the ideas youve gotten. You can do whatever necessary to avoid repeating the same mistakes. You can use the ideas to propel yourself forward. 7. It allows you to see your progress over time. After keeping a journal for years, you can look back at it and see how far youve gone. Things that were big problems in the past might seem small today. The raw ideas you had in the past might have

been realized today. Seeing your progress motivates you to move even further ahead. Now that you have seen the benefits of keeping a journal, what tool should you use? You dont need anything complicated for your journal. If your prefer to use a computer, you can use a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. You can even use a text editor like Notepad. If you prefer not to use computer, you can use a notebook. Just use whatever tool you feel comfortable with. The important thing is to make journaling a habit.
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Uses and Benefits of Journal Writing


Roger Hiemstra Journal writing as an instructional or learning tool in adult education has gained cogency during the past three decades. As early as 1965, psychologist Ira Progoff and his colleagues began seeing the value of personal journals in enhancing growth and learning. Progoff believed what he called an intensive journal process could draw each persons life toward wholeness at its own tempo. . . It systematically evokes and strengthens the inner capacities of persons by working from a non-medical vantage point and proceeding without analytic or diagnostic categories (Progoff, 1975, p. 9). Adult educator Malcolm Knowles (1975) introduced readers to notions of personal reflection through activities such as self-assessment and proactive reading of materials. Another useful source is Christensen (1981), in which she describes how a diary can be used as a learning tool for adults. Brookfield (1987, 1995) provides various ideas pertaining to critically reflective writing through such tools as autobiography, critical incident citing, and seeing ourselves as others see us. However, even given more than three decades of use and attempts by a few adult educators to encourage personal reflection in various ways, journaling still remains underused as a teaching or learning tool. As a professor I have found tremendous value in the journaling process for those learners with whom I have interactions. Thus, this chapter reflects not only what others are saying about journal writing, but also my own personal experiences.

Why Use the Journaling Process? Journaling in its various forms is a means for recording personal thoughts, daily experiences, and evolving insights. The process often evokes conversations with self, another person, or even an imagined other person. Add the advantage available in most journaling formats of being able to review or reread earlier reflections and a progressive clarification of insights is possible. In the adult education classroom, this learning method becomes a tool to aid learners in terms of personal growth, synthesis, and/or reflection on new information that is acquired. I urge my learners to use one of the journaling formats as a means for assisting them obtain the maximum amount of interaction, knowledge, and personal growth from their reading efforts or other learning experiences. There also is the potential for a journaling technique to promote critical selfreflection where dilemmas, contradictions, and evolving worldviews are questioned or challenged. In the graduate classroom, for example, this may be an especially valued result as teachers attempt to facilitate a professional development in their learners. Learning something that is new or different and then reflecting on what that means for a current or expected professional position can be an important outcome. Some of my students include portions of a journal or diary in a professional portfolio as a means of demonstrating to current or prospective employers their ability to critically reflect on issues. I also urge my students to incorporate such self-reflection through a journaling technique into the development of a personal statement of philosophy or a code of personal ethics (Hiemstra, 1999). This recognition of personal values, beliefs, and the various changes a person undergoes throughout life, if combined with a personal philosophy statement, can result in foundational tools useful as guides or mirrors for subsequent professional action and ethical decision making (Hiemstra, 1988, p. 178). The purpose of the next section is to describe a variety of these journaling techniques, types, and formats. Several have been tailored to fit my particular instructional philosophy and approach, so you may need to make appropriate adjustments if you decide to use them in your own classroom (Hiemstra and Sisco, 1990). I have additional material related to many of the techniques at Hiemstra (2000). Various Journal Types and Formats A variety of journaling types and formats have been developed over the years. A literature search produces a plethora of types, descriptions, and examples.

For purpose of this sourcebook I am including those I have found particularly useful in the graduate classroom. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but all are effective in helping students record information important to their efforts. Most students even use them to move beyond the knowledge and skills available through normal classroom activities. Learning Journals. A learning journal typically is a hand written in a notebook or on a pad of paper as a means for recording thoughts, reflections, feelings, personal opinions, and even hopes or fears during an educational experience. However, students can use a tape recorder or computer keyboard. The point is to find a recording device that feels comfortable and enhances frequent writing. The comments included can come from stimulation received while reading course materials or talking with fellow students. They also can simply be random reflections obtained during a learning experience or just through participation in life. Progoff (1975) even suggests having simulated conversations with the inner self or real conversations with others, including obtaining feedback, as a means of furthering any value received from the process. Throughout a course I recommend that students maintain a personal journal, diary, or log to capture their growing understanding of the field, a particular subject, and/or their own professional development. This can include systematic observations of insights, events, and changes in personal perspectives during the course. Journaling, as it is often called, typically is one of the most complex of all forms for recording personal changes and insights. For many students, the process of maintaining a journal helps them become more organized and focused on the areas they are studying. There is often a bit of personal clarification that takes place, too, as the journaling process helps in the elucidation of opinions, beliefs, and feelings. Progoff (1975) outlines various tools or procedures to aid in the writing process, such as personal logs, daily logs, and life history logs. In my courses I provide students with a large workbook of supplemental materials. I include a write up on keeping journals, diaries, reading logs, and theory logs and provide bibliographic references to several supportive sources. I also have on hand a few learning journals and diaries from previous students who have given me permission to share their materials with others needing to look at samples. I also suggest that students search the World Wide Web for samples of various journaling forms. Diaries. A diary is typically a notebook, booklet of blank pages, or any source for students to record thoughts, reactions to learning experiences, and even innermost fears about a learning activity. Some learners prefer to create

electronic or audio diaries. Regardless of the particular format, entries of daily experiences, insights, and problems often are made: Diary writing usually involves the unstructured, chronological recording of the events of a persons life as they are perceived. We have to recognize, however, that the mere fact of continuously writing entries, as is done in the keeping of a diary, is not sufficient in itself to bring about deep changes in a persons life (Progoff, 1975, p. 87). Another feature of a diary is being able to look back on specific days or time periods in an attempt to sort out personal feelings. Combining such features with instructor feedback, the development of something like a statement of personal philosophy, and subsequent student writing and reflection can begin desired or even unanticipated personal changes. I recommend to learners Christensens (1981) work in which she describes how a personal diary can be used as a supplement to classroom activities. Dream Book or Log. Many people are interested for personal or psychological reasons in recording and/or interpreting their dreams. This usually involves keeping a recording device (such as a tablet, notebook, and even tape recorder) on a nightstand to be used upon wakening for recording the dream experience before it has faded from conscious memory. Subsequent analysis of those dreams can lead to interpreting how the subconscious might be directing or impacting on the conscious. I tell a student who is really struggling with some particular concept or subject to consider keeping a dream book or log for awhile as a means of obtaining new insights. Bethards (1997) describes how to examine such remembered or recorded symbols from a dream and tie them to potentially new understanding or knowledge. Autobiographies, Life Stories, and Memoirs. Autobiographies, life stories, and memoirs can reveal the heart and soul of human existence. Autobiography focuses on self-assessment, life stories typically assess someone else's life but can be used personally, and memoirs take a more informal approach to telling a life story. All three approaches present an account of someones life. Something like an autobiography can even be used as a way of understanding or gaining knowledge on a particular topic. For example, a student might obtain a better understanding of adult development by creating an autobiography that focuses on the various stages of personal development over two or more decades. This typically involves asking students to draw on their own lives and experiences, as well as the lives of others with whom they have associated, to develop a critical self-reflection on some aspect of their personal development. Not only do autobiographies, memoirs, and life stories encourage selfreflection, they also can promote a sharing of experiences with others to

examine similarities and differences between individual life histories. Autobiography thus moves beyond learning as a solitary experience to one based on the potential of synergistic interaction with others. Interactive Reading Log. The interactive reading log provides a mechanism for a student to critically reflect on information as it is read. It is essentially a series of reactions or responses to those elements in any material being read that is particularly meaningful or provocative. In essence, such logs enable learners to record aspects of what they are reading in their own voice or words (Perham, 1992). In a graduate course, the items selected for reaction typically include books, instructional media, and professional journal articles. I recommend to my students that they use the following format: Begin with one or two introductory paragraphs describing the reasons for choosing whatever subject area was covered, include the log of reactions (this could be several pages constituting the bulk of the report), conclude with a two or three page retrospective overview of the effort as a whole, and supply a list of references utilized. I note that they can skip some sections in their reading efforts, skim others, read others at a normal rate, or read some passages more carefully and in depth. The spacing and number of reactions depend on the scope and purpose of any reading. It might involve including entire sentences or longer passages striking for their clarity, insight, stimulation, and usefulness. It might include items the student regards as ambiguous, exaggerated, poorly reasoned, insufficiently supported, or with which they disagree. They are even encouraged to have simulated conversations with any authors as a means of prompting clarification or new insights. The idea is to read and react letting the experience help in growth of knowledge and ability to practice critical reflection, and as a means of expressing personal thoughts in synthesizing the reading experience. Theory Log. The assumption serving as a basis for this activity is that each student taking a graduate course will need to learn to think and critically reflect on corresponding terminology, theory, and knowledge. Brookfield (1995) refers to this as reading theory critically. Throughout a learning experience, students who choose to keep a theory log are asked to make notes regarding what they perceive to be theoretical concepts, salient points, truths, bridges to known theory, ideas to be tested, and gaps in the knowledge. They are encouraged to ask various kinds of epistemological, experiential, communicative, or political questions about what they read. The ultimate result is a log, statement, outline, or whatever else seems appropriate in expressing their grasp of the theory providing a foundation for the course content. Benefits of Journal Writing

There are a number of potential benefits for learners in maintaining some type of journal, diary, or log. For example, enhanced intellectual growth and development is achievable by most learners, especially as they gain more experience with the writing or recording procedures. However, as a teacher I have been pleased with how these learning tools can help learners in their personal development and ability to examine new knowledge in critical ways. The following sub-sections provide more detail on those benefits I have observed learners achieving. Personal Growth and Development. Perhaps most important for the adult learner of all the benefits is the enhancement of personal growth and development. Journaling can help with such learning goals or expected outcomes as integrating life experiences with learning endeavors, allowing for a freedom of expression that may be inhibited in a group setting, stimulating mental development, enhancing breakthroughs in terms of new insights, and even planting seeds in terms of future study or research. Basically it is an investment in yourself through a growing awareness of personal thoughts and feelings. Intuition and Self-Expression. Another outcome, and one that is not always expected, is an enhanced ability at self-discovery. Learning to trust that inner voice and interpret new thoughts or even dreams can increase self-confidence not only in the classroom but in many other settings, too. For me there is almost nothing more satisfying than seeing learners tackle new topics because of their growing ability to personally reflect on changes taking place and integrate such new knowledge in an ever enhancing personal capability. Problem Solving. Utilizing a journaling technique often helps in the solution of problems. Writing down and imagining your way through a problem via personal insights and reflections on life experiences can be very rewarding. Often an epiphany will emerge that might not have been possible with some other problem solving technique. I recommend to my students engaged in one of the journaling procedures that they allow adequate time in their reflecting processes for new perspectives to emerge. Stress Reduction and Health Benefits. There is considerable evidence that journaling can improve various aspects of personal health. Bruce (1998) describes research with subjects who wrote thoughtfully and emotionally about traumatic experiences and most of them generally experienced improved physical health. Adams (1998) also talks about journaling as therapy for enhancing psychological healing and growth. Most adult education students may not need psychotherapy or medical recovery assistance, but some can use whatever helps them to release pent-up emotions, counter anger or frustration,

and overcome or reduce the stress so typical in todays busy work world and lifestyle. Reflection/Critical Thinking. This benefit has been discussed in various ways in prior descriptions of journaling procedures. However, it is important to make explicit the value of journaling in helping adult learners increase their ability to reflect critically on what they are studying or learning. The resulting outcomes from values clarification, finding meaning in what is being examined, and developing wholeness as a professional through critical judgements enhances not only the professional but also the profession. Overcoming Writing Blocks During the journaling process it is likely that a student will face on obstacle in not knowing what to do next. In essence, they reach an impasse that can even inhibit their continuing with the writing process. As an instructor I keep alert for such circumstances through questions I ask in class or in individual advising sessions to determine potential problems. Hiemstra and Brier (1994) note that there are various types of blocks: Some blocks are internal, that is, they reside within the writer. Other blocks are outside the writer and are external in nature (p. 59). Besides any obstacles impact on the journal writing process, it also can produce varying degrees of frustration, anxiety, and even enervation. Although such writing inhibitors can be unsettling, they are part of the process of sorting through new learnings or probing how personal feelings are changing. Progoff (1975) developed a number of techniques to help a person move beyond some blocking issue. Such techniques as imagery work, daily logs, period logs, steppingstone identification, and even dialogue with fellow learners often help a person move forward with new insights, reflections, and ideas. Those using an electronic recording mechanism can accomplish the same thing through a chat room or some form of asynchronous discussion. Cortright (2000) also describes various approaches to help students move forward with the writing process. These include such techniques as writing quickly, allowing words to fall freely from the subconscious, dating journal entries, using different writing or recording techniques to enhance a feeling of creativity, and setting aside time that is devoted only to the journal or diary writing. This chapter has provided considerable evidence of the tremendous benefit possible through a journaling technique. Enhancing the ability of each person to take increasing personal responsibility for their own growth and development is

a goal that has tremendous potential by encouraging a proactive approach to the learning process (Brockett and Hiemstra, 1991, p. 27). Thus, I urge all adult education teachers and students to try one of the techniques.

How Using A Journal Can Help A Student Improve Writing Skills


By: Randy Flores .... Click author's name to view profile and articles!!!

A lot of times, people think a journal is only for "serious" writers. But a journal can be used by anyone who writes. Students who feel like they need some help with their writing will find that journals can be used in a variety of ways. Journaling can help students who feel like they're experiencing writer's block or who want to work on essay topics. It's also a natural for creative writing students. How Journal Writing Helps With Writer's Block A lot of times, "writer's block" occurs because a student either questions his writing abilities or he feels like he can't think of anything to say. The best way to break through this state of mind is to force oneself to write. By having a specific place to write (one's journal), a student can "condition" his mind to write. He can either do it by free writing or by setting specific goals (for example, setting aside ten minutes a day to draft a paragraph for a paper due at the end of the semester). Writer's block usually doesn't happen if a student knows what he wants to write about. Sometimes someone feels stuck at first, but it's just a matter of getting started. If a journal is used for freewriting, writer's block will often become a thing of the past. A student can also record dozens of questions to respond to that will help him explore ideas. How Journal Writing Helps Students Explore Essay/Topic Ideas One way a student can use a journal is to explore essay and topic ideas in depth. He can simply freewrite about a topic in his journal, but he can also keep a list of questions geared to helping him explore an essay topic anytime. For example, if a student knows she will be writing an essay for a composition class or a term paper for another class, she can begin with these basic questions: What are my assumptions about this topic? Do I know anything about this topic already? What research will I need to conduct about this topic? Is there anything about this topic I'm eager to learn? What is a possible thesis? Can I think of several? Which one seems best? If a student thinks of other questions that help her begin thinking about writing an essay in general, she should write them down and use them over and over. Other kinds of papers require specific questions (for example, with an argumentative essay, a student will want to ask herself what counter arguments the opposition may pose). How Journaling Helps Writers Explore Creative Writing Ideas Just like a student can use a journal to explore essay topics, a creative writer can use a

journal to use her imagination. Students can use it as a place to record interesting images, bits of dialogue, or practice exercises found in creative writing books. A creative writer can also use a journal as a place to come up with a backstory for a character. Sometimes by knowing that no one else will ever see it, a creative writer has the freedom to not worry if what that she writes isn't perfect. How Journal Writing Helps a Student Let Go Sometimes it's hard to write if one is dwelling on something negative. If a student is worrying about something or thinking about the hard week he's had, he might find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. It can actually be productive for one to set aside some time and use this space to let it all go. And once it's on the page, it's less harmful. Other Ways a Journal Can Help Journals are also perfect for doing exercises found in textbooks that aren't necessarily homework but that a student finds productive. Many textbooks have exercises that instructors don't assign but that a student will realize can help her become a better writer. Journals are also ideal for recording ideas that can be used later. Creative writers will sometimes carry a notebook around to record observations or bits of conversation. Academic writers can do the same thing; if an idea comes to a writer, he can write it down and use it later. Even if one never uses all the ideas in his notebook, just the habit of writing things down can feel liberating to a writer. Journals are More Than Just Personal While many writers also use journals to record their personal thoughts and feelings, there are many reasons and ways to use a journal, and each one of them will help a writer get better and hone her skills. Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com A lot of times, people think a journal is only for "serious" writers. But a journal can be used by anyone who writes. Students who feel like they need some help with their writing will find that journals can be used in a variety of ways. Journaling can help students who feel like they're experiencing writer's block or who want to work on essay topics. buy speech presentation
Improving ESL Learners' Writing Skills

Tom Bello Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools Adult Education June 1997 Writing is a continuing process of discovering how to find the most effective language for communicating one's thoughts and feelings. It can be challenging, whether writing in one's native language or in a second language. Yet, as adult English as a second language (ESL) learners put their thoughts on paper, see their ideas in print, and share them with others, they find they develop a powerful voice in their new culture (Peyton, 1993; Tran, 1997). Writing also enhances language acquisition as

learners experiment with words, sentences, and larger chunks of writing to communicate their ideas effectively and to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary they are learning in class (Bello, 1997). This digest suggests general approaches to writing and specific activities that can make writing easier and more enjoyable for both learners and teachers. These suggestions are by no means exhaustive, but they are presented to encourage new thinking about how writing can be incorporated into adult ESL instruction. (See Auerbach, 1992; Cheatham,Clark, McKay, Schnieder, & Siedow, 1994; Crandall & Peyton, 1993; and Rabideau, 1993, for additional suggestions.) Approaches There are two general approaches to writing: free writing, which is not necessarily edited or worked on further, and a more extended process approach. In addition, the language experience approach (LEA) is often used with beginning literacy learners to provide opportunities for reading and writing through personal experiences and oral language (Taylor, 1992). Free Writing: Learners write for a period of time in class on a topic of interest to them. This writing can take many forms, including quick writes, which are timelimited, done individually, and not always shared; and dialogue journals, written to a teacher, a classmate or other partner who then responds (Peyton & Staton, 1996). These writings may be kept in a portfolio or notebook. From these pieces, themes may emerge that can act as springboards for more extensive writing that is discussed, revised, edited, and published. Process Writing: Process writing usually begins with some form of pre-writing activity in which learners work together in groups to generate ideas about a particular topic. This could include sharing the free-writing piece described above, brainstorming, making a list or timeline, or simply reflecting on an experience. Each group member then works alone to compose a first draft, concentrating on getting ideas down on paper, without worrying about spelling or grammar. They then read their drafts to each other in pairs or small groups. They encourage each other with constructive comments and questions as they seek better understanding of what each other is trying to write. They might discuss the purpose of the writing, what the author learned or hopes others will learn, and what the reader likes best or has trouble with (Crandall & Peyton,1993, p.65). Revising begins based on these comments and responses. Now the main concern is clarity as the writer looks at organization and sequencing of ideas, the need for additional information or examples, areas of confusion, and words or phrases that could make the writing clearer (Cheatham et al, 1994). Revisions should be shared until the ideas seem clear. Then, editing can begin as the focus moves to spelling, grammar, punctuation, transition words (first, next), and signal words (for example, another reason is . . . ). Learners should be encouraged to edit what they know or have studied. A checklist can help them focus on specific points. They should use each other and the teacher as resources, in addition to the dictionary and grammar books. When the learner and the teacher feel satisfied with a particular piece of writing, it should be shared with a wider audience --the whole class, family and friends, or the community. Pieces can be displayed around the room or compiled and published as a book, magazine, newsletter, or newspaper. Learners should be encouraged to read each other's work and comment on final products.

Depending on the amount of class time available for writing, the demands of the curriculum, the needs of the learners, and the comfort level of the learners and the teacher, variations in the process might occur. For example, pre-writing activities such as brainstorming can be done orally or in writing, individually or as a whole class. Learners might prepare their first draft in class or as homework, depending on how much time they have outside class to write. Rather than having learners work in groups to respond to drafts, the teacher might hold conferences with individual learners to discuss their writing and ask questions to clarify ideas. As issues arise (e.g., trouble with topic sentences, the use of quotation marks), the teacher might spend class time working on specific points with the entire class. See Cheatham et al. (1994) for a more detailed discussion of a process writing approach with adult learners. Language Experience Approach: Although there are many variations in the application of LEA, the basic process remains constant: learners relate individual or group experiences to a teacher, aide, or fellow learner, who transcribes these contributions for use in reading and writing activities. In a class situation, the experience may stem from something that the learners did together or have in common. Before any writing occurs, the experience is discussed. Then the class works together to develop a written text. Often the exact words of the learners are recorded as dictated, without transcriber corrections to grammar or vocabulary so that the focus is on the content. The text is then read aloud and opportunities are provided for learners to practice reading it. Extension activities that encourage further writing can be developed to accommodate learners at different proficiency levels. For example, beginning learners may simply copy the story or make their own illustrated dictionary of vocabulary words. More advanced learners may produce their own individual written pieces on the same experience. See Taylor, 1992 for a more comprehensive explanation of LEA. Activities Teachers and learners may also have specific kinds of writing they want to do or specific skills that need to be developed. The following writing activities can be engaging and challenging and can add variety to writing instruction. They also develop important literacy skills. The writing that emerges from an activity may be an end in itself or may lead to more extensive writing, employing one of the approaches discussed above. Assessing Needs: Having learners write about what they want to learn and why is an excellent way for the teacher to conduct a class needs assessment. Beginning level learners can write just a few words in English, or in their native language if need be. At higher levels, learners can write a simple letter, an entry in a dialog journal, or even an essay. They can be asked to respond to questions such as "Where do you use English?" "Where do you want to use English?" "What language skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening, use of vocabulary, use of grammar) are you interested in developing?" and "Where and how do you practice reading?" (e.g., at home, reading books to my child) (Weddel & Van Duzer, 1997). Reacting to a Text or Stimulus: Learners can record their reactions to various stimuli. They might do a free writing or an LEA piece in response to a piece of music; a photograph or drawing; a sound, such as water being poured; or even smells, such as the aroma of different spices or flowers. They can also respond to a field trip,

movies or written texts such as stories, poetry, and narratives. Reactions can be in single words, sentences, paragraphs, an essay, or a poem (Kazemak & Rigg, 1995.) Writing Letters: Letters of complaint (while studying consumerism), cover letters (while preparing for employment), or letters of advice (while studying newspaper features) allow learners to practice some of the types of writing that are useful in their daily lives. At beginning levels, learners can fill in the blanks with content words such as, "The ____ is broken." At more advanced levels, learners can compose letters on their own or be guided by questions. Analyzing and Synthesizing Information: Adults frequently need to interpret information that appears in graphic form such as charts, drawings, and maps, or interpret and synthesize information from several sources. To prepare for this kind of writing, learners can complete grids based on information they gather from class or community surveys. For example, at the beginning level, a simple grid can ask for the names of the learners in the class and their native countries or languages. Groups of learners can work together to fill in parts of the grid and then share their information with the entire class to complete the grid. They can then use this information to write simple sentences describing their class, such as "There are nine Spanish speakers and four Russian speakers in our class." At higher levels, learners can gather more extensive data and then write a descriptive paragraph or composition. Using maps, learners can write directions for getting from one location to another. After reading articles on a topic such as immigration, learners can write a letter to the editor or a summary of the information presented. Making Lists: Lists can help learners generate vocabulary and provide the basis for larger pieces. For example, when studying banking, learners might enjoy listing how they would spend a million dollars. Other lists might be about favorite foods, places, or activities; wishes; things missed about one's country; or things liked in the United States. For a beginning learner, a few words might suffice. More proficient learners may write several sentences or more. Conclusion Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer (1982) has said that all great writing is deeply personal and heartfelt. Teachers need to provide learners with opportunities to write about topics that are relevant to their lives, to participate in various writing activities, and to feel that their writing has value. By integrating writing with content at every level of instruction, teachers help learners find their own voices in their new language and develop the ability to communicate effectively in different contexts and with different audiences.

ESL Strategies for Literature Response Journals - Margaret M. Williams ESL teachers can help English language learners build communication skills while improving reading comprehension as they scaffold literature response journaling. A literature response journal can be a powerful tool for communicating thoughts and ideas about books, poems, plays, and non-fiction texts. Journaling allows students to experiment with a variety of writing skills and genres. However, writing can be a challenge for English language learners who may still be thinking in their native language and then having to translate their ideas into English.

Discussion a Key Strategy to Improve English Writing Skills It is important that ESL teachers conduct thorough book discussions with students prior to response journaling. As English language learners engage in listening and speaking about a book or story, group discussions give them opportunities to frame their thoughts, test their words, and try them out. As they listen to other students, they gain new ideas and insights, and they learn to use words in different ways. Teachers can guide the discussion by focusing on one comprehension strategy at a time. Strategies might include summarizing, making connections, inferring characters motives or the authors meaning, determining importance, predicting plot turns, identifying character traits, or asking probing questions, Ads by Google Free Journal Research Search the global online library on ethics. Sign up for free. www.globethics.net/library Will Writing 03-7957 2829 Get your Will & Estate Planning done professionally www.alstonlau.com Strategies To Scaffold Literature Response Journals for ESL Students Be explicit in teaching the language and the behaviors expected. For instance, teachers should not assume that young children know they are expected to write an answer in reply to a teachers written question. This behavior may need to be explicitly taught. Allow ESL students to write in their native language first. Often ESL students will have a very good understanding of the themes in the book or the topic being discussed, but not have enough expressive language to write about it in English. Allowing students to write in their primary language until they have developed more English will help them to express their ideas more easily. Another time, if they wish, they can go back and write summaries of the early entries in English. Listen to the students verbal response in English and write the response for the student. This strategy will allow the ESL student to utilize their strength, in this case speaking. As the student becomes more skilled and more confident, the teacher can release the responsibility to the student to do more writing independently. Read This Next Scaffolding ESL Students' Reading Comprehension How to Scaffold ESL Students' Writing Anchor Charts Support ESL Literacy Instruction

Permit ESL students to draw. Encourage students to illustrate their ideas to accompany or even in place of their written responses to stories and non-fiction text. Engage the student in a question and response experience. Comment in writing on what the student wrote and ask a probing question requiring further response from the student.

Create anchor charts with open-ended prompts. Encourage students to refer to the anchor charts while they are writing. They can use these prompts in group discussions as well. ESL students will deepen their reading comprehension, expand their writing skills, and connect reading and speaking to writing through the use of literature response journals. What makes this journal experience especially powerful for English language learners is the potential for teacher feedback and interaction as well as the flexibility of the medium

Literature Response Journals for K-12 Students


A Powerful Strategy to Improve Literacy Skills

Jun 29, 2009 Margaret M. Williams

Example of a Literature Response Journal - Margaret M. Williams Learn how literature response journals can be powerful tools for helping students of any age improve writing skills and develop reading comprehension. A literature response journal sometimes called a reading response journal is a tool for communicating thoughts and ideas about books, poems, plays and other written media a student encounters. This communication strategy is effective for students of all ages, kindergarten though college. What makes a reading response journal especially powerful is the potential for teacher feedback and interaction as well as the flexibility of the medium. The actual journal can be something as simple as a a composition notebook or even a spiral notebook. It can take the form of a personal reflection journal, or it can be a dialogue journal in which student and teacher communicate back and forth. For classrooms with access to technology, the literature response journal could also take the form of a shared blog on an inschool server. Reading Response Journals Help Improve Reading Comprehension Traditional book reports tend to be formulaic, asking the student to supply summary information about the book. In contrast, a response journal is open-ended, inviting the student to think deeper about characters, plot and themes. Literature response journaling provides a unique way to deepen comprehension skills. Ads by Google Intl School of Management Intl PHD Program Integrating Field Experience & Academics. Info Here! ism.edu/Ph.D/ISM-PhD-Overview.html

Research, Write, Present Writing Services for Business Operation and Marketing www.caliandson.com Response journaling can help students express what they understand about a book. Students can make connections, ask probing questions, show evidence that they are determining importance, inferring characters motivations or the authors meaning, or predicting, leading to a synthesis of their ideas. Literature Response Journals Help Improve Writing Skills Journaling is a medium that allows students to experiment with a variety of writing skills and genres. They can do more than simply write reactions to a book. For instance, students can write an alternate ending, a poem, or a mini-play all in response to what theyve read. They can illustrate a favorite part of the book. Perhaps they would like to write a list of interview questions and then write other students responses. They can carry on a question and answer correspondence with the teacher or another student. All of these activities are ways in which reading response journals can deepen a students understanding of both fiction an non-fiction while stretching their writing skills. However, the key to a successful writing experience is to engage students in a thorough group discussion about the book beforehand. This will provide a natural opportunity for the teacher and the other students to model ways to express ideas about the story. The most productive time to write about literature is immediately following a dynamic discussion. If the discussion lacks energy or stays on the surface, it might be a time to pass on the writing, or to focus on a specific sub-skill such as summarizing. But when the discussion is dynamic and deep, that is the time to put aside whatever is next on the schedule and say, Lets get out our response journals. Read This Next

Response Journal for The Giver by Lois Lowry Using Content Area Learning Logs in K-8 Classrooms English Language Arts in the Classroom

Teachers can then pose a question for students to respond to, or they can ask, "Does anyone know what they want to write about this book?" By asking students to briefly state what they plan to focus on in their journaling, teachers provide an open-ended experience that allows each student to focus on what is important to him or her, while modeling for others potential topics for further independent exploration via the journals.

Adapting Literature Response Journals to Meet Differentiated Needs Literature response journals can easily be adapted to work with students in any grade. Kindergartners, for instance, can draw as their primary medium. They can label their pictures or write simple sentences to express their ideas. High school age students can be expected to cite specific words or paragraphs in the book that support their statements or ideas. They can compare the book in question to others they have read. Regardless of their age or ability, primary grade, intermediate, middle school and high school students can all be appropriately challenged depending on their writing skills. Literature response journals can also be adapted for and become a powerful medium for English language learners and those with learning disabilities. Students of all ages can deepen their reading comprehension, expand their writing skills, and connect reading and speaking to writing through the use of literature response journals. Learn how to adapt literature response journals for English language learners ESL Strategies for Literature Response Journals ESL Strategies for Literature Response Journals - Margaret M. Williams ESL teachers can help English language learners build communication skills while improving reading comprehension as they scaffold literature response journaling. A literature response journal can be a powerful tool for communicating thoughts and ideas about books, poems, plays, and non-fiction texts. Journaling allows students to experiment with a variety of writing skills and genres. However, writing can be a challenge for English language learners who may still be thinking in their native language and then having to translate their ideas into English. Discussion a Key Strategy to Improve English Writing Skills It is important that ESL teachers conduct thorough book discussions with students prior to response journaling. As English language learners engage in listening and speaking about a book or story, group discussions give them opportunities to frame their thoughts, test their words, and try them out. As they listen to other students, they gain new ideas and insights, and they learn to use words in different ways. Teachers can guide the discussion by focusing on one comprehension strategy at a time. Strategies might include summarizing, making connections, inferring characters motives or the

authors meaning, determining importance, predicting plot turns, identifying character traits, or asking probing questions, Strategies To Scaffold Literature Response Journals for ESL Students Be explicit in teaching the language and the behaviors expected. For instance, teachers should not assume that young children know they are expected to write an answer in reply to a teachers written question. This behavior may need to be explicitly taught. Allow ESL students to write in their native language first. Often ESL students will have a very good understanding of the themes in the book or the topic being discussed, but not have enough expressive language to write about it in English. Allowing students to write in their primary language until they have developed more English will help them to express their ideas more easily. Another time, if they wish, they can go back and write summaries of the early entries in English. Listen to the students verbal response in English and write the response for the student. This strategy will allow the ESL student to utilize their strength, in this case speaking. As the student becomes more skilled and more confident, the teacher can release the responsibility to the student to do more writing independently. Permit ESL students to draw. Encourage students to illustrate their ideas to accompany or even in place of their written responses to stories and non-fiction text. Engage the student in a question and response experience. Comment in writing on what the student wrote and ask a probing question requiring further response from the student. Create anchor charts with open-ended prompts. Encourage students to refer to the anchor charts while they are writing. They can use these prompts in group discussions as well. ESL students will deepen their reading comprehension, expand their writing skills, and connect reading and speaking to writing through the use of literature response journals. What makes this journal experience especially powerful for English language learners is the potential for teacher feedback and interaction as well as the flexibility of the medium.