After reading Tompkins' (2012) section on personal writing with a focus on journal writing, I began to truly see the difference between different styles of journal writing. When I was a student, I remember doing a small amount of journal writing and used to love it! Now that I look back on it, I believe my teachers used reading logs and personal journals throughout my elementary schooling. At that time, I do not think I understood the importance or motive behind all of my journal writing. But now after reading Tompkins (2012), I truly see the importance of the different styles of journal writing that a teacher can implement within his/ her classroom.
As being a second grade teacher, I can see journal writing being very beneficial. Once I read the section of the book on personal journal writing and how to implement it within your classroom, my ideas just came flowing into my brain about how I could work this type of writing into my classroom. I began to think of having my students keep personal journals or even dialogue journals as a part of their morning work. Every student comes into the classroom in the morning with some type of story they need to tell me, so why not have them practice their writing skills and write about it in their journals. If I was to implement journal writing as a part of their morning work, then it may help my students start off on the correct foot and get their brains moving. If I was to implement, specifically, dialogue journals I would want to make sure that I had a system in place as to which journals I will respond to each day or even week. Even though I have a small class, I do not think I would be able to respond to every student's journal each day.
On top of modeling and implementing personal and dialogue journals, I believe that my students already use reading logs in class. They are not always formal reading logs that Tompkins (2012) describes, but they are a form of a reading log. After we have read their reading story for the week, I ask the students to respond to it with any thoughts, questions, predictions, etc. that they may have had after reading the story. We also discuss predictions about what the story may be about, which then could turn their reading logs into double entry journals if I wanted to. If I did teach my students about double entry journals, then they would all be able to write questions and predictions down as they take a picture walk through the story or even after they have had just read the title.
There are so many options when it comes to journal writing that a teacher can adapt and implement any of the journal styles in his/ her classroom as a way to have their students practice their writing skills to become fluent writers. As I have come to understand, journal writing does not have to take place everyday in the classroom, but is just another way to get your students writing and practicing to become more fluent writers in a less formal way.