Dialogue Journals

Back to
40 Best-practices
Instructional Strategies

Procedures: Dialogue journals are ideal tools for real world writing throughout a unit of study. As students are researching and investigating Journey North adventures, they write about facts learned, articles read, and connections made in a notebook. Each week students exchange journals. They read the letters or entries and write responses back to the student author. Dialogue journals are similar to a pen pal exchange that creates a forum for students to be partners in learning.

Examples: After reading about caribou crossings, students write a letter to a classmate about surprising facts, thoughts, feelings, questions, predictions, and connections. Classmates exchange notebooks to read and respond to each other’s thoughts and ideas. For focused responses, a question can be used to prompt student thinking: “What predictions and questions have generated from your reading and research?”

Variations: Dialogue journals can be used when students are studying the same or different species. They provide students with a real audience for communicating about their learning. Journals can be used in many ways: with a broad, open-ended structure for responses or with sentence starters to target students’ thinking.

Reading Strategies: Identify Main Ideas and Support Details, Summarize Information, Paraphrase Ideas, Synthesize Information, Make Generalizations, Make Connections, Build Vocabulary, Draw Conclusions, Activate Prior Knowledge