the reading log by f8Q3iC


									                          The Reading Log
            (Aka. Reading Response Journal/Dialectical Journal/Double-Entry Journal)

  The term “Dialectic” means “the art or practice of arriving at the truth by using
  conversation involving question and answer.” Think of your dialectical journal as
  a series of conversations with the texts we read during this course. The process
  is meant to help you develop a better understanding of the texts we read.

  A reading log is an effective way to keep a record of your reading responses-
  positive or negative, sure or unsure. It offers a chance to respond personally, to
  ask questions, wonder, predict, or reflect on the characters, events, literary
  elements, or language of a text. Do not summarize! Instead, record your textual
  observations. The dialectical journal is a double-entry note taking system. It
  helps one to read critically and encourages the habit of reflective questioning. It
  is a place to record and explore ideas using writing as a tool for learning.

  Procedures for keeping a reading log are as follows:
     Use notebook paper (one-side only) or you may type it
     Must have two columns (divide the page in 1/2)
     Title the column on the left “Quotations from the Text”
     Title the column on the right “Commentary/Responses to the Text”
   o If you choose, you can label your responses using the following codes:
             o (Q) Question – ask about something in the passage that is unclear
             o (C) Connect – make a connection to your life, the world, or another
             o (P) Predict – anticipate what will occur based on what’s in the
             o (CL) Clarify – answer earlier questions or confirm/disaffirm a
             o (R) Reflect – think deeply about what the passage means in a
                broad sense – not just to the characters in the story. What
                conclusions can you draw about the world, about human nature, or
                just the way things work?
             o (E) Evaluate - make a judgment about the character(s), their
                actions, or what the author is trying to say

  Sample Dialectical Journal entry: THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim

Passages from the text         Pg#s Comments & Questions

“-they carried like freight            (R) O’brien chooses to end the first section of the
trains; they carried it on     Pg 2    novel with this sentence. He provides excellent
their backs and shoulders-             visual details of what each solider in Vietnam would
and for all the ambiguities            carry for day-to-day fighting. He makes you feel the
of    Vietnam,    all   the            physical weight of what soldiers have to carry for
mysteries and unknowns,             simple survival. When you combine the emotional
there was at least the              weight of loved ones at home, the fear of death,
single abiding certainty            and the responsibility for the men you fight with,
that they would never be            with this physical weight, you start to understand
at a loss for things to             what soldiers in Vietnam dealt with every day. This
carry”.                             quote sums up the confusion that the men felt
                                    about the reasons they were fighting the war, and
                                    how they clung to the only certainty - things they
                                    had to carry - in a confusing world where normal
                                    rules were suspended.
  Look for quotes that seem significant, powerful, thought provoking or puzzling.
  For example, you might record:

     o Effective &/or creative use of stylistic or literary devices
     o Passages that remind you of your own life or something you’ve seen
     o Structural shifts or turns in the plot
     o A passage that makes you realize something you hadn’t seen before
     o Examples of patterns: recurring images, ideas, colors, symbols or motifs.
     o Passages with confusing language or unfamiliar vocabulary
     o Events you find surprising or confusing
     o Passages that illustrate a particular character or setting

  You can respond to the text in a variety of ways. The most important thing to
  remember is that your observations should be specific and detailed. You can
  write as much as you want for each entry. You can use loose leaf paper for your
  journals or download the template.

        Basic Responses
          o Raise questions about the beliefs and values implied in the text
          o Give your personal reactions to the passage
          o Discuss the words, ideas, or actions of the author or character(s)
          o Tell what it reminds you of from your own experiences
          o Write about what it makes you think or feel
          o Agree or disagree with a character or the author

            Sample Sentence Starters:
            I really don’t understand this because…
            I really dislike/like this idea because…
            I think the author is trying to say that…
            This passage reminds me of a time in my life when…
            If I were (name of character) at this point I would…
            This part doesn’t make sense because…
            This character reminds me of (name of person) because…
      Higher Level Responses
         o Analyze the text for use of literary devices (tone, structure, style,
         o Make connections between different characters or events in the text
         o Make connections to a different text (or film, song, etc…)
         o Discuss the words, ideas, or actions of the author or character(s)
         o Consider an event or description from the perspective of a different
         o Analyze a passage and its relationship to the story as a whole

      Variations on the Dialectical Journal Format
         o Metacognitive Journal – what I learned/how I figured it out (incl.
             pg. #s)
         o Synthesis Journal – at the end of a weekly cycle, consider your
             Dialectical Journal entries, group work & participation in class
             discussion. Analyze your overall progress as a reader & writer.

   Responses may start:

   “The imagery reveals…”
   “The setting gives the effect of…”
   “The author seems to feel…”
   “The tone of this part is…”
   “The character(s) feel(s)…”
   “This is ironic because…”
   “The detail seems effective/out of place/important because…”
   “An interesting word/phrase/sentence/thought is…”
   “This reminds me of…”
   “Something I notice/appreciate/don’t appreciate/wonder about is…”
   Or you may start with something else you feel is appropriate
   Generally each response should be 5 sentences and should include your
   analysis of the literary techniques present in the quotations, the author’s
   attitude, purpose or tone, and relation to personal experience.
   Show me that you have read the entire book by responding to the novel from
   the first to the last page. You must a minimum of 20 entries (or at least
   one per entry per every 20 pages or per every chapter-whichever is
   Make sure that you note the page number for the quotes.

Your journal will be used to determine your comprehension of the text. Be sure
that your responses are thorough and that you complete the journal for all
chapters of the book.

Please remember that these logs are not meant to be personal diaries.
The left column is used for notes - direct quotations or summaries from the

The right column is used for commenting on notes in the left column. Personal
reactions to the notes on the left go here. The comments on the right may

            • what the passage prompts in thinking or memory associations;
            • feelings toward the author’s words;
            • words or passages not understood;
            • words or passages that look important; and
            • connections among passages or sections of the work.
As you take notes in your journal, you should regularly reread the previous pages
of notes and comments, drawing connections in a right-column summary before
starting another page of the journal.

Here are a few samples:

   1.) ““I don’t talk things sir,” said Faber, “I talk the meanings of things. I sit here
       and know I’m alive.”” (75).

This is a great quote in my opinion. It’s very insightful, and shows an interesting
view on living. It illustrates the difference between talking and actually doing.
People can talk as much as they want and never make anything out of it. You
can fill the air with all kinds of words that have no meaning whatsoever. Words
are empty until people can give them meaning. The meanings are deeper; it is
what lies beneath, the significance of the word itself. It is another interesting
concept the way Faber says “I know I’m alive.” He knows what it is to actually
experience life, different than thinking about life or watching life as it slips away.

   2.) “Knowledge is more than equivalent to force!” (106).

I think this is a great passage from this book. Ironically it is spoken by the man
(Beatty) who is completely against knowledge and any who seeks to read things
and understand. Still I think this is a great way to show an opposing viewpoint
from what many would believe to be true, which would be that brute force is the
greatest power. People can forget that with knowledge and wisdom also comes
power. Force is limited, it cannot bring you everything that you want. While
knowledge can’t either, the amount of knowledge you can gain is endless. There
is never any limit to what one can understand or inquire about. Knowledge is the
world of possibilities, power and intelligence, and is greater than force when it
comes to value, and usefulness in society.
   3.) “But you can’t make people listen. They have to come around in their own
       time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up under

I especially like this quote because it is so true. There isn’t anything that you can
say that will make people listen and understand, or even care about what you’re
telling them. Most of the time, someone has to experience something for
themselves to be able to understand the importance of it. It is only natural for
people to make mistakes, and the mistakes are critical in the learning process.
To be able to gain the knowledge, we must experience the lesson first hand. As
people, we can’t always be told that something is the truth and trust that it is
right. Each person takes their own time to learn, to come around and realize the
way things are. Sometimes it does require the world blowing up underneath them
to make a person really consider themselves or their actions. It isn’t human
nature for people to listen the first time around, and it isn’t reasonable to expect
them to.

   4.) “He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the
       lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door
       and ask for it back”(12).

I think this is a great passage and an interesting simile. This reveals a lot about
the way that people are, and how they can put on a cover, or a “mask” that is so
much different than what they are. People wear masks of all kinds, pretending to
be happy, tough or normal. People can front for many reasons, to impressive
other people, to try to fit in, or even just because they are too scared to admit
their true characters to themselves even. You can try to be something else
because it is the thing you want to be, because you don’t like the person that you
really are. Many people spend so much of their time acting like something
different that it is hard for them to really be themselves; they have absorbed who
they are in another identity. This is how Guy Montag is in the novel, he spends
his time pretending to be happy, because he wishes he really was, even when he
isn’t. The other part of this passage discusses him not being able to get his mask
back. This is also true. If somebody else has revealed the real content of your
character (taken off the mask) it is impossible to go back to the way that you
were. Once the mask is taken away, there is no more need to pretend.

   5.) “We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a
       while” (52).

I love this quote, and completely agree with it. It prompts people to think about
what they are doing and things that are happening. It shows people that we need
to question everything. We can’t settle in and forget what’s going on or avoid
problems. The character delivering this quote (Guy Montag) wants to encourage
independent thought and problem solving in others. If we all just start avoiding
the difficult things in life because they are “bothersome” then nothing would ever
get done, no problems would ever get resolved. What this passage is saying is
that when we encounter a dilemma we cannot just turn away from it, labeling it as
worrisome, but rather face it head on, be bothered, and take care of what we
need to.

                           Independent Novel Selection

                                Dialectical Journal

          Passage and Page #                          Why you choose it?

To top