Every 2-3 weeks, my students write a reading response over their independent reading books. My students have been doing this for years, but I’ve decided to focus a bit more on their responses this year.

In the past, students often focused too much on summarizing the story, rather than responding to what they read. This year I want to help them build stronger responses so that they share and support an opinion of the book or reading, not a summary.

The first change I made this year is creating more formal prompts for students. In the past, I’ve used sentence stems and I’ve modeled, and sentence stems work to some extent. But often, students would finish a sentence or two, and then the rest of the response would turn into a summary. By having some prompts to choose from, I want students to first practice building an opinion and then details that back it up.

For prompts, I turned to the Table Topics game, Book Club edition.

This cube comes with 135 question cards. A few days ago, I chose a couple I wanted to use this week (as well as a question of my own), and then created a graphic on Google Slides for the prompt

Students choose ONE of the questions to answer (because I want them to go deeper into a question, not answer all three with surface-level answers) on their Reading Response Sutori.

I haven’t used Sutori for reading responses before this year, and trust me, I’ve tried many, many analog and digital forms of reading responses over the years. I wanted to use Sutori because it will save the conversation that each student and I have throughout the year, and they can see how their reading is progressing.

None of my students’ responses are currently public (though Sutori comes with that ability if desired–right now I want them to be comfortable with what we’re doing before going public with it.) However, I’ve been working on my own timeline as a model, and you can see it below.