What is a Response Notebook?

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Check Out the New Blog WhatisaResponseNotebookA Response Notebook is one in which students can record their thoughts, impressions, reactions or responses about books, novels, or any content they have read.

The purpose of maintaining such a notebook is to help students become self aware of their learning process, to create an archive that can be used for future references, to facilitate the development of reading-writing skills and to monitor their progress in reading habits. Teachers can also evaluate and monitor a student’s progress through these response notebooks.

Starting a Response Notebook:

Use a simple spiral notebook or a binder to store the response sheets. To start with, educate the students on the uses and the need for the book. Show them a copy of a response notebook, with the entries, for them to understand it better.  The class can then have a discussion and decide on the format of their response notebook.  You can use these points to aid your discussion and planning.

Segments: The segments to be included in your notebook are framed based on the purpose of the book. For example, a reader’s response notebook can have an introductory page in which they note the name and author of the book they have read, the genre of the book, and so on. If it is used to record the different learning strategies that one has tried out, students can have an index column recording the strategies and the date it was tried out.

The format of the notebook:  Teachers can decide if students should stick to only having written responses or if they can include creative representations of their responses in the form of graphics, images etc.

Do’s and Don’ts: Students should realize that a response IS NOT a summary of a chapter or a synopsis of the story they have read. You can start by writing down a list of questions that can guide students’ responses. These questions can be pasted on the first page, as an aid in writing. Over time, students are encouraged to develop their own method of reflection.

Guidelines: There can be rules, the basic ones like writing with a neat, legible handwriting, use of proper grammar and punctuation and more complex ones regarding the number of entries that should be written, the dates for submission, and so on.

Assessment: Frame a criteria based on which the responses can be evaluated. You can also decide on the method by which you will be providing your feedback. If your feedback is also to be written within the book, students can maintain a separate space for that purpose.

Shared learning: You can also ask encourage students to share some of their ideas and thoughts with the class and have a discussion on the same.

Discuss here: What strategies do you use to facilitate the development of reading-writing skills in your classroom?

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