Responding to Reading!

How important is responding to reading for you as a teacher? I used to not put much emphasis on it, I actually found it time-consuming and rather redundant, but after doing some research on the topic...I realized it is crucial for students to gain understanding while reading any text. 

Organizing it is simple and won't take much effort on your part as the teacher. Once it is organized, the students are independent in this and they are doing meaningful reading and THINKING while reading. 

Here is how I organize it in my room, but you can do whatever works for you! I hope these tips help though!

Each child has a journal in my room. We title it "Reading Response Journal." lol...I know, step back...we got super creative with the journal name. :) Students choose a book each week to read from and respond weekly to me in their journals. 

Our school has an incentive so my kids earn their jeans for Friday (we are a uniform school) based on their responses. 

I teach 75 fifth graders...I need organization to stay sane! lol. So my I have crates in my room. They turn their journal into the "Turned in Journals" crate, and they pick them up in the "Graded Journals" crate (after they have been checked by me!)



I love this system, it keeps me completely organized and the students independent in turning in and picking up their journals. Much less, "Mrs. Kiser, where is my journal, did you grade it yet?" 

The students have access to a number of materials for generating response topics...one resource I love is these Reading Bookmarks

I just added these to my store, but have been using them in my classroom for a while. I even used them in 3rd grade. Now, because I have 75 kids, I do not give EACH CHILD a set. Wow, that would be a lot. But I do have many available in my classroom for them to use if they are having trouble thinking of questions to respond to about their text. 

The students must choose 3 questions, and each question has to be from a different topic. Here is what the response bookmarks look like!


And just for fun, I will take you through my process for creating these. It's mind blowing...lol. Okay, not really, it is super simple! 


Just print these out (they are free) and then cut each of them apart. In order to have different colors on each topic...I print 8 pages of the black and white. Each page being a different color. Then when I cut them out, they are all different colors. 


Then arrange them how you want them. (Different colors for each skill in each set.) Then hole punch the corner of each set. 

Binder rings are super cheap on Amazon or at Walmart. I just have a package of 200 lying around at all times. lol. Place a binder ring in them a you are done!



The kids love the different colors and love using these!

Here is a better look at each skill! (Asking Questions is pictured in the above pictures on the front.)






Here is a set of the finished product! 





Now, I know what you are thinking...why are they called bookmarks? Well...when I taught 3rd grade, I used them in a bookmark way. I recreated a picture (with a 5th-grade book) to show you what they look like as a bookmark. Or you can just print individual skills and give those to the kids as bookmarks.


Finally, when the students respond and turn in their journals...they have meaningful thoughts and reactions to their books. Here are some student examples!




I truly hope this has helped! I love having students respond to their reading at any age! I believe it is very important! 

Have a great week, and Happy Teaching!

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