Development of Quality Responses to Literature
Characteristics of Written Journal Response Levels

Response categories range from: novice responses, emerging responses, maturing responses, and critical responses.

 Novice Responses includes -

  • Brief communications, spontaneously communicates thoughts and feelings better than when asked to compile his or her thoughts more formally.
  • Communicates a number of brief responses, which merely fulfills an assignment, rather than sharing a commitment to the story and characters.
  • Summary or retelling of the story, rather than interacting with it.
  • Information limited to a general comprehension of the story - no personal involvement with it.
  • Expressions of frustration with the response journal.

Emerging Responses includes -

  • Attempts to share spontaneously, but still gravitates toward a transitional response prompt format.
  • Reasonable predictions using information from the story.
  • Communicates reaction's that seem detached without a commitment or connection to the story.
  • Several questions to make sense of the story or to avoid confusion.
  • Detached insights into the characters without achieving deep character involvement.
  • Other response characteristics from the Novice Responder category.

Maturing Responses include -

  • Expressions of a personal interaction with the story that are similar to most common responses shared.
  • Demonstrations of a willingness to communicate personal opinions/ emotions/ thoughts.
  • Evidence of involvement with the main character by talking about them as if he or she knew them. By suggesting advice or recommending different ways to act in situations in the story.
  • Plausible predictions based on information from the story and substantiates those predictions.
  • Evidence of a willingness to try new ideas suggested by others for better understanding.
  • Other response characteristics from the Emerging Response category.

Critical Responses include -

  • Personally derived unique information supported by the story and communicated in an appropriate stylistic manner and tone.
  • Evidence of deep involvement with the story and powerfully incorporate personal opinions/ emotions/ thoughts.
  • Statements that judge and assess characters against his/her own personal standards and may share advice, criticism, empathy, or disparity.
  • Reactions to the story as a literary piece and analysis of literary elements, communication techniques, and quality genre characteristics.
  • Comparisons of the story to other pieces of the same genre, by the same author, or with a similar theme.
  • Other response characteristics in the Maturing Response category.

Adapted by Robert Sweetland from Marjorie R. Hancock - Response Rubric for literature response journals


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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