ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dialectical Journals and Reading

Updated on June 11, 2012
Use this format for creating your dialectical journal pages.
Use this format for creating your dialectical journal pages. | Source

By Joan Whetzel


Dialectical journals, or reading response journals, create a way for readers to become more involved in what they read, whether it's books, poems, plays, or short stories; even newspapers and magazine articles. Dialectical journals are a double-entry style log. Readers record directly quoted or paraphrased passages from the reading material in one column and their responses (emotional, logical, analytical) to the material. These journals makes it easier for readers to become more involved with the story and the people in it. They create a link between the reader, and the story and its characters, and this link leads to greater retention of the material for the readers.

Objectives

The purpose behind dialectical journals is not for readers to mimic what they think their teacher's or peers think. It's for each reader to take away his or her own meaning from the reading material. When readers have a dialogue with the reading material; the story speaks to them and they respond. Their responses could include anything from personal ideas and feelings to class lecture notes and ideas from class discussions. The idea is for readers to allow their personal lives to bring meaning to the reading as well as letting the reading bring meaning to their lives. There are no wrong answers here. As long as the readers understand the story and glean some meaning from it, they tend to retain the material longer and learn to enjoy the experience of reading.



Setting Up a Dialectical Journal

Dialectical journals begin with a composition notebook or spiral notebook. Binders with loose leaf paper don't work well because papers tend to get lost or removed, whereas bound notebooks keep all your notes together. Split each page into three columns by drawing 2 lines down the center with a pencil and ruler. Make the right and left columns wide and the center column narrow.

Label the center column "Chapter / Page" and record the location in the reading material where the quoted or paraphrased passages may be found. The center column can be omitted for newspaper magazines and internet articles that are not paginated (split into individual pages with page numbers).

Label the left-hand column "Quotes" or "Passages." Write portions of paragraphs from the reading material, quotes, class notes, or anything you find interesting about the reading material. You should include 1 to 2 passages for every 20 to 40 pages of reading. Ideally they should be passage that really intrigue you or make you think. The choice of passages is all yours.

Label the right-hand column "Note Taking", "note Making", or "Responses." Here you're going to write down why you think quote or passage is interesting. Responses to your chosen passages should be detailed. You might compare story events to actual historical events, ask questions, illustrate the meaning you gain with metaphors, or draw correlations between the story and real life. Or you might discuss the author's literary devices -- a figure of speech, narrative style, plot mechanism, the passage's tone -- and how they give specific meaning to the passage. You might even ponder the character's viewpoint.

Fill in the dialectical journal by quoting a passage, giving the page number, and making notes about the meaning of the passage.
Fill in the dialectical journal by quoting a passage, giving the page number, and making notes about the meaning of the passage. | Source

Your Passage Choices

You may choose to quote a passage or record a quotation from one of the characters. Always use quotation marks, whether quoting a character's dialogue or simply quoting a passage. Quotation marks indicate that these are someone elses words, not your own. If you're paraphrasing or summarizing a particularly long passage, quotation marks are not generally required since you are writing down the passage in your own words.

The best passages are the ones that really make you think or that produce a strong emotional response. Be sure to include enough of the sentences surrounding your quote so that a person who may never have read the book could understand the context of the passage.


Your Responses

In your response to the passage, discuss what you did or didn't like, what seems confusing or odd, what the passage means to you, or personal connections or similarities with your own life. You might also make predictions about where the story is going or what might happen next, or ask questions for which you need answers, for which you need to read further to gain understanding, or for which you need to investigate further in other books, on the internet or by talking to others. Discuss the author's use of symbolism or any significant details that may point to motivation. Whatever ideas come to you go into this column, especially ideas that relate to this passage.

While keeping a dialectical journal, remember that the your responses and discussion of any passage may take up more than one page. So take this into account when setting up your journal. Every time you begin an entry for a new passage, allot several empty pages for the previous entry -- about 4 or 5 should suffice -- before beginning the new entry so that you can add to your responses to the previous passage entry. And remember, since these are your interpretations and your responses to the reading, there are no wrong answers. All the answers are right because they are yours.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)