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Encourage Students to Write Informally

As a complement to the activities you plan for the stages of the writing process, you can encourage your students to write informally. Indeed, journals, often called reading responses, are a less prescribed but equally important way for students to explore ideas and strategies for writing the assignment.

In their entries, students may respond to what they find interesting, surprising, or strange and why in the week’s readings. You may be able to turn these visceral responses into critical analyses by having students develop potentially compelling ideas.

You can encourage or assign students to write these responses in an on-going way or assign them a particular question to pursue in their journals.

Comment on these very briefly when students submit them weekly or at the end of the quarter. While journals are not usually graded, they are often marked on a check system (√+, √, or √-) so that there is some accountability.

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