Here's one way to help students transact with the literature that you are using in your classrooms. The on/off the page journal is a device to capture the reader's reactions and responses to the literature being read with he expectation that these reflections will deepen their appreciation and pleasure in reading, as well as provide starting points for shared conversations about the text being read. This format is primarily meant to provide a format for recording the ideas that come to us when we read in order to have rich conversations with our book club members (and ourselves as we reflect on what we have read.) Do note that it is not a big deal if some off the page and on the page comments get switched around. This is a journal device to deepen the conversation and the off and on comments sometimes overlap.
Off the page
On the page

When reading, we often are reminded of our own experiences that mirror or match the experiences of the characterswe are reading about. OFF the page comments or reflections focus on:

When reading, we often get new ideas or connected ideas from our reading. We make connections to the text ON the page. These comments, questions or reflections focus on:

  • personal experiences that we are reminded of when we are reading

  • other texts we have read that are similar in nature or that help us to understand this particular story or text

  • questions taht arise for us as we read that would help us understand the text better. For instance, when reaidng a novel set in a historic time perisod, we may want to know more about that historic era.

  • information we have acquired thorugh whatothers have told us, wha we have seen on TV, in movies and the like that help us understand, visual, or experience vicariously the events or emotions portrayed in the text we are reading.

  • ideas we have about the characters in the story or text

  • questions that we have about what might happen next or what might happen to a character, etc.

  • the predictions we automatically make as we are reading that cause us to read with more attentitiveness

  • things that confuse us that we want to share with others who are reading this smae text

  • favorite passages that we want to highlight for other book club members