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How To Take Students' Stop and Jots to the Next Level: Analytical Written Responses to Reading

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

What do I do with all these post-it notes?

Your students are reading independently.

They are reacting to the text and jotting their thinking down on post its.

Which of these situations have you experienced...

  1. A student comes to you and says..."I've finished my book, now what do I do with all these post its?"

  2. You see independent reading books and notebooks full of post its and sticky notes are falling all over the classroom floor.

  3. You see students throwing those little treasure pieces of reading thinking in the trash can.

Whether it's scenario #1 or #2 or #3, those post-it notes need to find their way into stretching student thinking about the text.

Now, what do we do with all those sticky notes?

We want students to take their thinking to the next level...

Analytical Written Responses to Reading

Those post-it notes are full of students' original thinking. Your readers have done the reading work!

Now it's time to take that work and use it to craft a longer written reading response full of your readers' original thinking and analysis.

But how do we use that sticky note thinking about reading to write a reading response?

Taking students through the process of using that reading work to craft a response takes several steps.

This process takes place over several days and a series of minilessons designed to help readers review their short jots and annotations, then use those to create an analytical written reading response.

Take your readers through the process with you by using a familiar book that is full of your (& your readers') thinking. Choose a previous read aloud you all experienced together and loved.

Revisit the book as a walkthrough to get reacquainted with the book and to review the post-it thinking you all did while you read it.

You don't have a previous read aloud with thinking notes from you and your readers?

No worries...just choose a book you know they will like and use it for a read aloud BEFORE you start this series of lessons.

Help your readers understand that they will be putting together all they have learned about reading and writing to craft an analytical reading response. They will be drawing on all of their classroom reading experiences.

Key Teaching Points

  1. Sift through the thinking you did and name each kind of thinking. It could be predictions, wonderings, inferences, character noticings, judgements. Give a name to the kind of thinking you did.

  2. Categorize those notes into groups such as, reactions, judgments, interpretations, connections and thinking beyond the text.

  3. Choose about 3-6 notes to write more about. Choose thinking notes that make you think of more, take your thinking deeper or that of which you are really proud.

  4. Choose ONE of those pieces of thinking. Stretch your thinking about the text and write more about the short jot, reaction or annotation. Write more about what that piece of the text made you think beyond the text.

  5. Continue step #4 with the other chosen pieces of thinking.

  6. Take your stretched thinking and reread through all of it. Find a focus and connection among all of your longer written thinking. Ask yourself, "How are all of these pieces of stretched thinking the same? What do they all have in common?"

  7. Use that longer written thinking to craft a longer written reading response. Using each piece of stretched thinking as a point in a longer written essay response.

Crafting a written reading response that is full of original student thinking and analysis takes time.

Minilessons should be strung together over a couple of weeks so that students will be able to see how to use the writing process to refine and revise their written reading responses.

Until next time...

The key teaching points for crafting longer written responses were taken from Text Dependent Analysis: Writing Literary Responses--Writing Minilessons



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