Is your child finding it difficult to think of ideas for their reading journal? Are they 'stuck in a rut' and doing the same few activities over and over again? Look no further! Here is your guide to support them in journalling like an absolute pro...
First things first, we don't expect them to complete a large journal entry for every single piece of reading they do! If they're short of time or the reading that day hasn't inspired them to respond, then we'll be more than happy with a date, title and number of pages (as well as any comments an adult may want to add). Sometimes, though, they'll want to do more and here are some ideas for them to try:
- Can they write a summary of what they have read today? It doesn't have to be in words - they could draw a series of pictures with labels and arrows, complete a mini storyboard or even use Lego bricks to create a scene. If they are using words, why not challenge them to summarise in fewer than fifty words? How about twenty? Or even ten?
- Are there any words in the text that were new to them today? Can they look them up on Google and find out what they mean? Can they use each word in a new sentence?
- Are there any questions they have for the author or the book or even for one of the characters? If someone in your family has a Twitter account and the author is on there, maybe you could ask the author!
- Can they make a prediction about what is going to happen next in a story and explain why?
- Is there a character in the text who has really captured their imagination? Can they draw a picture of them from a description and label it with words from the story? What does the character look like? What are they like and how can you tell from the things they do and say? If your child could spend a day with them, where would they take them and why? What would they talk about?
- Is there a place in the text that your child can draw from a description? Can they imagine what it would be like to be there? What can they see? What can they hear? How does it make them feel? Would they like to go on holiday there or not?! Why?
- Is there anything in their current reading book that reminds them of another book or idea? Can they compare one book to another? Can they compare books by the same author? Has the same author written any other books that they would like to read? Can they find out more about the author? Does the author have a ten minute challenge video on the 'Authorfy' website that your child could complete (link below)?
- Once they've finished a book, your child could write a mini review. Did they enjoy the book? Did they have a favourite character or a favourite plot twist? How many stars would they give it out of five? Who would they recommend it to and why?
That's just a list to start them off! They could be even more imaginative and write letters or notes from one character to another. Have they considered putting themselves in someone else's shoes and writing a short diary entry? Some of the KS2 pupils have been making Top Trumps cards to compare characters or writing their own 'Guide to...' prompted by their reading. I've attached some examples of reading diaries below to help inspire everyone.
Remember that completing journal entries is supposed to be enjoyable! Make it as interesting as you can for your child by doing lots of different activities instead of just a short summary every time. Words are great but pictures with labels can be just as effective (and more fun to do!). Use lots of bright colours! If they're struggling with some of the writing, can you support or even write down what they are saying about the book? You could write down their words in a speech bubble or using inverted commas (speech marks).
If you need any support with reading journals or any new ideas, why not ask one of the staff in school or one of our KS2 librarians? There are also book recommendations on the Online Library page of this website under the Children drop down menu.