Journal Prompts

Journal Prompts

  1. What is the mood of the work and how did you react to it?
  2. What is the setting (time and place) of the work and how does it impact the work? Is it important to the work or is it irrelevant, meaning the work can occur anywhere and the story would not change?
  3. What literary techniques or devices did you note in the work? (Ex: idiom, allegory, simile, metaphor, alliteration, allusion, flashback, symbolism, irony, etc.)
  4. Choose one of the characters. What is the internal conflict this character has and how do you think the character will resolve it? Remember, internal conflict is the conflict inside the character (man versus himself). If you have finished the work, tell how it was resolved and whether or not you agree with the resolution.
  5. Choose one of the characters. Name the external conflict this character has and describe it in detail. Also predict how you think it will be resolved. If you have finished the work, tell how it was resolved and whether you agree with the resolution.
  6. Can you relate to the main character(s)? Why or why not? How do you react to them (emotionally) and what qualities about the character(s) make you react to them?
  7. Would you recommend this work to others? If so, why? If you dislike the book and wouldn’t recommend it, why?
  8. How was this work either (a) influenced by the events/history of the time period OR (b) influential on the events/ history of the time period? [In (a), the work is the result of the events, in (b) it causes or drives the events.]
  9. Do some research on the author. How was the author’s background influential to the work? If you feel it wasn’t, then give reasons to support that position.
  10. How do you feel the work would be changed if the author was alive and wrote it today? For modern works, how would it have been different if the author was living 100 years ago and the book was written then?
  11. Write a brief critical review of the book, giving someone who has never read it a synopsis of the book. Include whether or not it is worth reading, and why.
  12. Pick one character in the work. Try to imagine his/her feelings and thoughts about what is going on in the plot and write a journal entry from his/her point of view.
  13. Choose one character in the work and write as much as you can about that character. For example: What is his life like? How does he react to certain events in the text? What matters to them? How does he relate to other characters?
  14. Create a ‘found poem.’ Choose one paragraph in the text, pulling words or phrases out and arranging them to create a short poem. Then, write a brief paragraph explaining how your poem is similar to or different from the original paragraph.
  15. Choose one event that is important to the text and illustrate it. You may choose to draw a simple sketch or cartoon—whatever you like. However, you must show through writing (one paragraph) how your sketch exemplifies the text and why the event you have chosen to portray is important to the text.
  16. Choose two characters and create a Venn Diagram to show how these characters compare/contrast.
  17. What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this work? Who you suppose the intended audience was?
  18. Create a correspondence between two characters. Write a letter or postcard from one character to another, grounding your correspondence in details drawn directly from the text.
  19. Have you ever felt like one of the characters in the story, or have you ever witnessed a similar situation? Explain.
  20. Pick a major event from the work. Explain in detail the cause of the event, and if possible, explain the result.
  21. Paraphrase a short passage in your own words.
  22. List five major events of the work in the order they happened.
  23. Who is narrating the story? Do you feel the narrator is a reliable source of information? Give examples.
  24. Think about the themes running through the story and choose one. Tell if it’s a main theme or sub-theme and support your answers with specific text examples why you believe this is a theme in the story.
  25. What are the problems the character is facing in the story? How do these problems relate to the character’s overall goals and conflicts?
  26. Imagine you are a news reporter covering an event from the passage. Write an opening paragraph for a news article describing what has occurred.
  27. How did the author’s choice of vocabulary help or hinder you in understanding the work?
  28. Is the title of the work appropriate? Why or why not?
  29. What is the genre of the work and how do you know this. Was this genre an appropriate choice for the author to use?
  30. What is the point of view of the novel? Would the work be more or less effective if written from another point of view?
  31. Explain how the character solves one of the problems he faces in the work and tell if it was an effective way to solve the problem.
  32. What is the most important event in the work (so far)? Why is this event the most important?
  33. How did (pick a character) change from the beginning of the work to the point you are at in the work?
  34. Predict what will happen to the character after the end of the story.
  35. Explain what course of action you would take if you were in (pick a character)’s situation and explain why this would be a more effective course to take.

2 Responses to Journal Prompts

  1. Hello, Ms. Dunaway! I am an ESL teacher with students in the CIS, and one of my rules is to have and write in a blog for each lesson. Sometimes I am too tired to think up yet another idea, and your list will certainly help. I can easily add instructions to tailor the questions to reflect the particularized point we are studying. Thank you so much!

  2. pathseekerme says:

    This list is very like one I use with my 8th graders! However, I never thought of requiring them to provide a novel or a biography themselves; I’ve always made them use their AR book which they are required to carry to every class, and which they return to the library when they finish it. I think your idea would be much better! This way, my class will be different from the Language Arts teacher’s, even though I will be reinforcing the same concepts as my superintendent has requested. You are marvelous!

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