Double-Entry Journals

A double-entry journal is a special type of reading log in which the pages are divided into two columns; students write different types of information in each column (Berthoff, 1981). This is an instructional activity that focuses on reading comprehension. The purpose of a double-entry journal is to help students structure their thinking about a text. Students discover gaps in their knowledge and relate past experiences to what they are learning.

Steps for Creating a Double-Entry Journal

  1. Design journal pages. Students divide the pages in their reading logs into two columns. They may label the left column “Quotes” and the right column “Comments” or “Reflections”.
  2. Write quotes in journals. As students read or immediately after reading, they copy one or more important or interesting quotes in the left column.
  3. Reflect on the quotes. Students reread the quotes and make notes in the right column about their reasons for choosing each quote or what the quote means to them. Sometimes it’s easier if students share the quotes with a reading buddy or in a grand conversation before they write comments or reflections in the right column.

(Tompkins, Gail. Literacy for the 21st Century A Balanced Approach, fifth edition.  Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997. Print.)

“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” 

– Edmund Burke

The following websites provide examples of and ideas to be used when planning double-entry journal lessons.

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