Reading response journals, notebooks, and prompts have been around for as long as I can remember. For those of you that may not know what I mean….students read a piece of text and then are either assigned, or get to choose, a prompt to respond to about their reading.
For the most part, I’m a fan of reading responses. They get our students to think deeply about what they’re reading. They are able to connect with the text and learn new things. Students can even share their responses with peers and begin to have some authentic conversations about a piece of text. All amazing things!
But…there’s also two big downfalls for me. One: teachers can often get hung up on the amount that a student writes each day. They assign number of paragraphs, or sometime pages, and expect their students to have that done by the end of the day. The kids end up getting stressed out, frustrated, and then shut down without even completing the reading! Sometimes, a chapter or section of book doesn’t give you that much to want to write about and that’s ok.
My second downfall? The prompts tend to stay the same year after year. Write a one page summary about what you read. Write about a personal connection you had. Do you agree with the author? Kids end up responding to these prompts over and over; eventually they’re bored with them and end up resenting independent reading time all together….which is what we DON’T want to happen.
If you’re reading this and thinking that maybe you need a little refresh with some reading responses or maybe you’re just needing something new and fun to start your year off with, I’ve got Hashtag Reading Responses!
These would be fun, quick, and engaging ways to get your students to reflect on their reading in a non-traditional way. They still address some of the basic reading skills that we want students to continually strengthen, but in a fun way. The idea is for them to pick a hashtag response and try to write their response as if they’re on Twitter…with only 240 characters (if possible). Limiting their characters to only 240, really pushes them to synthesize what they read and extract the most important information, another great skill for them to have! **Click here or on the image to download your own PDF copy!!
I’m visualizing each student having a copy of the hashtags in their notebook so they can easily decide which one they are going to complete at the end of their reading time. If you have different visions of how you can use these in your classroom, please reach out! I love hearing new ideas!
However your school year begins, in-person or remotely, these reading responses will hopefully add some fun and engagement to your students’ reading.