Thoughtful Logs: Thoughts, Ideas, and Learning Worth Remembering In Reading and Writing

Launching Thoughtful Logs Professional Development PPT

The goal of the thoughtful log is to provide students' with a tool that organizes their thinking and records their learning.  The most important part of the thoughtful log is the "My Thinking" section that contains students' thoughtful entries (their thinking while reading or after discussion).  This helps make thinking visible for sharing with others.

Students in grades K-5 have a thoughtful log and the logs are tabbed to reflect the thinking and learning that occurs throughout the 150-minute literacy block.

Grades K-2 Tabs                                                                      Grades 3-5 Tabs

My Thinking                                                                               My Thinking

Genre Learning                                                                         My Strategies

Powerful Words and Phrases                                                    Genre Learning

Word Work                                                                                Author's Craft

                                                                                                  Powerful Words and Phrases

Explanation of Tabs

My Thoughts: Students write about their thinking by recording their thoughts about what they are reading.  They can respond personally to the text during independent reading by sharing connections, asking questions, making predictions and inferences, offering opinions, and responding to the theme.  Entries for this section are not limited to what is listed above.  Refer to page 159 in Teaching for Deep Comprehension for more ideas of possible entries.  In grades 3-5, this section of the log also contains entries for Literature Discussion Group Texts as well as writing prompts from Phase 2/Day 2 of Guided Reading.

My Strategies and/or Word Work: Students record information about the strategies they learn about as readers, writers, and spellers.  As students need prompts or reminders as to how to be strategic, they can refer to this section of the log as they work toward self-regulation. Examples of strategies in this section may include "how-to" information about making connections, writing topic sentences, adding -es or -ies to make plurals, etc. 

Genre Learning: Students record genre features they learn during reading and writing genre studies.  As students encounter these genres in reading and experiment with them when writing, they have a resource to refer to to aid in comprehension of text and to guide their writing.      

Author’s Craft: Students record examples of author’s craft they encounter while reading.  This helps facilitates “reading like a writer” because they notice things that real, published authors use in their stories.  This encourages students to experiment with the same author’s craft in their own writing during Writer's Workshop.  Examples of craft included in this section may include similes, metaphors, flashbacks, alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, leads, repetition, rhyme, etc.

Powerful Words and Phrases: Students record examples of powerful words and phrases that they see in texts and make various word lists. These powerful words and phrases allow us as readers to visualize and help as us writers to improve our word choice.  Students are encouraged to refer to and experiment with these powerful words and phrases when they write during Writer's Workshop to make their own writing strong and powerful.


Positive Learning Outcomes with Use of Thoughtful Log

  • promotes strategic behaviors
  • helps students learn how to organize their thinking more fluently and flexibly
  • makes students' thinking visible and tangible
  • promotes conscious awareness of thinking (write to describe events, summarize information, formulate beliefs, explore new ideas)
  • reveals ongoing habit of reading and comprehending by facilitating deep comprehension
  • creates a natural link to between the reading and writing processes (reading like a writer)