This is a form of writing that is
influenced by what was read. The purpose of a journal is to
stimulate thinking from which more writing ensues. It can be about
personal events or 3rd person observations. It should not focus
mostly on the essay read. A journal should only be influenced by the
- Write down your
thoughts--after reading an essay.
- How do your impressions
change (or do they) after reading it?
- Do you feel any
differently after finishing?
- What emotions did it invoke:
laughter, tears, smiles, anger?
- Was it boring and meaningless?
- Record some of your reactions.
- Sometimes the reading touches
you, reminds you of your own life, as part of the larger human
- Are there connections between the essay and your
own life? Or, does it remind you of an event (or events) that
happened to someone you know?
- Does the reading leave you
with questions you would like to ask? What are they? Would you
like to direct your questions at something particular? What
questions would you like to ask the author?
- Are you confused about
meaning? What do you not understand? Does the language confuse
- Is there an idea that makes
you stop and think, or prompts questions? Identify the idea
and explain your responses.
- How have you changed? What did
you learn that you never knew before?
- Who else should read this?
Should anyone not be encouraged to read this? Why?
approaches to journals.
for "Computer Fallout"
When my family was young, we lived in
Belleville, NJ, the town Russell Baker so lovingly writes about. As
fate would have it, my mother went to grammar school with him in
Belleville about 75 years ago and remained friends for a while after
that. He is now a Pulitzer Prize winning well celebrated author, but
he still remembers Belleville and the close knit families that lived
there way back when my mom was a little girl. The family events he
conveys in his essay were much like those my family and friends all
shared. Everybody knew everybody else, and neighborhoods seemed
more friendly and comfortable than today. We had a huge Italian
family; it was a carefree time of warmth and closeness. However,
life moves very quickly, and things change. Last week I visited my
mother in the nursing home where she stays. I brought with me a
video produced by “Masterpiece Theater” for TV. I was excited
to bring her this video; I picked it from the library because
Russell Baker gave the introduction to the movie. I couldn’t wait
until my mother saw him. I was not disappointed. Her entire face lit
up when he popped onto the screen, and with wide moist eyes and
trembling lips she softly declared, “he looks just the same as when
he sat behind me in PS #8.”
Journal example 2
I laughed until I had tears in my
eyes when I read Russell Baker's
column ''Computer Fallout''
The word processor reigns supreme in
my house, and many is the time that
writing a brief paragraph stretches
into two hours of painstaking
adding, deleting and agonizing over
the most simple of tasks. Crumple up
one copy; walk around the room and
sip on some coffee, read a magazine,
take a shower, anything to
keep the assignment from getting
done. Nowadays all one needs do is
turn on the PC and the assignment
practically gets written all by
itself. Spell check has turned even
the best speller into a bumbling mass
of confusion. Grammar check does
what my brain once was capable of
easily deciphering. IS this a
blessing or a curse? Cashiers can't
count change anymore because of the
computer. Mechanics plug in a chord
and bingo the problem is solved.
Although word processing makes
writing easy, the ease it affords in
fine tuning one's words can also be
it its primary pitfall, as Mr. Baker so