top of page

5 Sections EVERY Reader's Notebook Should Have

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

The Reader's Notebook can be the most powerful instructional tool within the classroom. The Reader's Notebook is the place in which readers can see themselves as readers and watch as they progress and grow.

When readers begin to see how their reading strategy use is changing they can see the progress they are matter what level they are at!

It's so important to use this tool daily to document reading work and progress, as well as, reflect on progress throughout the school year.

The Reader's Notebook is so much more than a place to complete independent reading activities and tasks. It's an instructional tool that you and the student can use together to see how the reader has changed, developed and progressed throughout the year.

So...just what all goes in the Reader's Notebook?

Here it goes...

  1. Reading Identity

  2. Reading List or Personal Bookshelf

  3. Reading Goals

  4. Minilesson Work

  5. Independent Reading Work

AND...of course, with all of this, is ongoing reflection and personal progress tracking.

Grab the FREE Readers Notebook tab dividers shown below here


5 Sections EVERY Readers' Notebook Should Have

Reading Identity

Readers must discover their reading identity. You can read more about reading identity and get some ideas here in Reader's Notebook: How to Set Up This Powerful Tool

Readers need to what kind of reader they are and uncover the kind of reader they want to become.

When readers set up their Reader's Notebooks, the first thing they should do is start thinking about their Reading Identity.

Check out the gallery of pictures for My Reading Life at Reader's Notebook: How to Set Up This Powerful Tool

Reading List or Personal Bookshelf

Here, students keep track of the reading they do throughout the school year.

There should be about 5-10 pages for students to keep track of their reading.

First, decide how your readers will track their reading: on a reading list or log, on a visual bookshelf or you may decide to keep this out of the notebook and do it digitally.

Throughout the year you will want readers to return to their Reading List or Bookshelf and do some reflection. You will want to guide your readers through this reflection with some points on which to reflect.

  • What are you noticing about the kinds of reading you do?

  • What are you noticing about your reading stamina?

  • What changes or improvements do you need to make to improve yourself as a reader?

Reading Goals

Readers should track and document their own progress in reading as well as reflect on their work at several times throughout the school year.

Readers must take ownership of their own reading progress.

Readers have goals you set for them, but readers SHOULD be setting their own goals.

When readers set their own goals they have an authentic purpose and intention for tracking their personal reading journey.

Readers should take a look at their goals and reflect on those several times throughout the year.

Minilesson Work

Minilessons are the backbone of reading instruction.

When there is a section of the Reader's Notebook dedicated solely to minilesson work, readers have a consistent place to refer to work when they are lost or confused.

Readers come to the lesson everyday with their Reader's Notebook.

In the lesson, you may have students work directly in their notebook, add tools, mini anchor charts or notebook inserts.

This may be a place where students 'have-a-go' and try out the minilesson strategy right there with you during the lesson.

This section is totally up to you and will develop and match your teaching style.

Independent Reading Work

The Independent Reading Work section of the Reader's Notebook will grow and evolve throughout the school year based on the minilessons you have conducted throughout the year.

This is a place where your readers will try out the minilesson work and previous learning during their own independent reading within their own independent texts--books they have chosen to read.

Readers could include post it note thinking or think sheets.

This section of the notebook will grow and evolve based on the unique reading identity of each of your readers.

This is such a fun place to visit throughout the year because it's easy for readers to see how they have grown. AND...easy for you to track and document each of your readers' progress.


Whether you have already been using Readers' Notebooks or not, here's my challenge to you...

  • How can you get started with Readers' Notebooks?

  • How can you step up your Readers' Notebooks?

  • How can you add to your Readers' Notebooks to make it even more valuable?

You may be interested in grabbing some FREE Readers' Notebook Tab Dividers by clicking here.

Until next time,

Also pictured in the article above in the minilesson section of the notebook are...

Pictured above in the My Reading Work section was...

If you want all the tools pictured above and MORE, look right here. There are over 100 minilessons and almost every minilesson has a literacy tool to actively engage your readers during Independent Reading practice.


Related Posts

See All


bottom of page