Underground Railroad Student/Class Goal

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4. Reading Logs Students use reading logs to record what they have read, respond personally to and analyze texts. Reading logs are a useful way for teachers' to monitor student reading. As with all journals, the reading log requires clear guidelines and regular opportunities to make entries during class time. In its simplest form, the reading log is used for students to keep track of what they have read. In addition, students can write responses to literature, mass media and everyday texts as they read, often making entries after a certain number of pages or events. It is a good idea to present students with a range of ideas to use for making entries in their reading logs:

  • write character reports in which they report on what they know about different characters at different stages of their reading

  • adopt a character where they work in groups focusing on particular characters and build up an in depth profile including extracts from the text

  • create a diary in which they make an imaginary diary by one of the characters at various key stages of the novel

  • construct a plot profile, often in graphic form, in which they record the key events of a novel. Students can do this in pairs and share their profile with others in the class. In addition, students can develop excitement charts in which where important events are given an excitement rating. Plot profiles can be combined with excitement charts and plotted on a chart. The events form the horizontal line; the excitement rating forms the vertical scale

  • make reflective comments where they refer back to the text to identify developments and changes in action and characterization

  • construct flow charts and relationship charts (literary sociograms) in which students note key moments and relationships among characters at important points in the novel

  • write a poem using favorite descriptive words or phrases from a novel

  • redesign the cover of a novel with a particular audience in mind

  • list the ten most important things about the novel they are reading

  • draft a letter to the author or one of the main characters

  • complete a number of statements, for example: what I most wanted to happen was; what I really liked was; what surprised me was; what I most admired about the main character was, etc.

  • create a story board for a dramatic scene in the text

  • draft an advertisement aimed at a particular audience for the book you are reading

While many students enjoy keeping a record of their reading, others say it takes away from their enjoyment of reading. As with all types of journals, you need to adapt what you do to meet the requirements of individual students. Having students work in pairs or small groups at different times often helps those who have difficulty making entries in their reading journal.

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