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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Double entry journal

Double entry journal or dialectical journal

A double entry journal is a form of reflective writing based upon a text. Students can use a double entry journal to help them study concepts or vocabularies, express opinions, justify an opinion using text, and to understand or respond to the text they are reading. The double entry journal is a two-column journal. Students divide their page into two columns. In the left-hand column, students should note down a word, phrase, quote or situation from the text that they can relate/react to. In the right column, learners write their thoughts or reactions about the entries in the left column. Reinforce the fact that the thoughts/reactions that students’ record should make a connection between the text and themselves (text-to-self), another text (text-to-text), or the world (text-to-world). Explain how readers often make connections to a story to help them better understand the text. Students can use their own notes from their double entry journal to assist in constructing essays.

Double entry or Dialectical journals:

  • provide a non-threatening means for students to respond to literature
  • promote writing fluency
  • elicit thinking, reflective questioning, and interpreting of literature
  • allow students to interact with a particular piece of literature through critical reading
  • assist students to begin to clarify their thinking about literature while exploring deeper levels of meaning
  • provide teachers with insights into learners’ thinking about and understanding of a topic being studied.

Variation: Double entry journals can be used to develop an outline for writing assignments. Students write their ideas that they want to include in their essay in the left column and expand on their ideas in the right column.

Watch this video to see a year 12 class using a double entry journal.

Published on: 19 Jan 2018