Reader's Response and Think Clouds

We have been working up a storm in my second grade classroom to become more comprehensive thinkers as we read. Overall, my students are excellent readers. Their ability levels definitely keep me challenged to continue thinking of strategies and literature that takes them to a deeper level in their thought process and comprehension. My kiddos also LOVE to this I mean they even ask if they can read at recess {What????}! I definitely want to keep all of those positive thoughts flowing for a VERY long time!

Last week, we began reading Mr. Popper's Penguins during our shared reading timeI am sad to say that up until this point, I have never actually read this book and/or seen the movie! Boy...was I missing out! My students have absolutely fallen head over heels for Captain Cook {the penguin} and the whole Popper family. This book is a scream...from the Poppers turning their refrigerator into the proper habitat for this tuxedo wearing creature to Captain Cook building his rookery from daily household objects!

Each day, I read a new chapter from Mr. Popper's Penguins. While reading, I have a student recording "important words" on sticky notes. These are words that we stop to discuss or words that our recorder thinks we may want to remember. This books has a wonderful selection of words to really build a student's vocabulary. After we read the chapter, we discuss our words and add them to our sweet little version of Captain Cook! This book has really been providing those "teachable moments" that we all know and love! We have learned all about prefixes, suffixes, dialogue, adverbs...and the list goes on! Have I mentioned...I LOVE this book????  

Each day, we dive into another chapter. I have almost decided to move shared reading to the very beginning of our day because my kids enter the door asking about our dear Popper family. After reading and some class discussion, each child responds to a writing prompt from the chapter.  Click on the cute little penguin below to take a look at those journal prompts.

 Each student has their own written response journal that they use when responding to prompts. I tried using their writing journals but everything began getting all jumbled up, so separate journals were the ticket.

I have been so impressed with the progress that the students have made in such a short time. They are now responding with two paragraphs for each prompt. {definitely something we had to work towards} One paragraph identifies details that happen from the story and one paragraph is used to make text-to-self connections with the events that occurred during that chapter. Not only has this improved my students comprehension skills but MY OH MY how their writing has improved all around! Again, the kids are just so into the story they can hardly wait to get into their journals. One of my boys who once despised writing is now writing up a storm. It's all about tapping into their interest!?! Right??? Right!

Prior to beginning this little unit of study, we really spent time exploring written response, reading examples and creating a rubric to identify the things that we thought we would need to include to have a powerful response. Here is what we came up with...
You can click here for an example Reader's Response Rubric from ReadWriteThink!

I just can't wait to find out what happens in this story! I may have to read ahead! :)

Random Alert:
On a little random note, I saw the amazing little invention of the "think clouds" on pinterest and had to create some to include some of the skills that we have been working on. {author's purpose, fix-up strategies, predicting, etc.} As the students independently read during guided reading groups, they can grab a think cloud when they would like to share a strategy that they used while reading. For example, if a student made a connection while reading, they would grab the "Make Connections" think cloud. After reading, I allow each student to quickly share the strategy that they used while reading. This really makes the discussion meaningful for each student. You can click on the picture below to download the think clouds if you would like! :)

Happy Wednesday Friends!


  1. Cute! Thank you!
    We only have like, literally, FIVE minutes from the time of the bell until the students have to get to their intervention class. I'm so bummed that we have intervention class for EVERYONE because with my higher kids, I would LOVE to do a literature circle or something along the lines that you are doing.
    I do have a read aloud time every day that is usually followed my writing time. A LOT of the times, my writing class follows something that we do in our read alouds. I'm really liking that - so maybe I can do something with Mr. Popper's journals like that.
    They respond each day to what you read? Or only when you finish the chapter?

  2. Thanks Hope! I love these! I'm going to have a parent laminate and cut tomorrow! LOL! I'm with you on making things easier for myself. Love the math stations... :)

    Thanks for sharing and for sending people my way! You're awesome!

  3. I love these and I think my students are going to love using them! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I absolutely love your thinking clouds. I teach sixth grade U.S. History in VA, and if you don't mind, I would love to borrow the idea. Thanks for sharing.
    Melinda Sprinkle

  5. What an amazing find. Thank you for sharing!

  6. How do you get reading grades for your kiddos?

  7. Hello!! Love the think clouds! I was wondering some of them say front. What did you include on the back?

  8. Hi Hope!
    Just saw these on Pinterest and LOVING!!! Can you please tell me what you put them on??? Did you make them so the cloud is on both sides?? Also, do the kids use them at other times other than guided reading?? Thanks bunches:)

    4th Grade Frolics

  9. Yes, I was also wondering what you attached them to.


  10. I'm in love with these!!! They are perfect during guided reading for my higher kiddos.

    Krazy About Kiddos

  11. Do you just keep 1 thinking cloud per strategy in the basket? Love this idea. Downloaded for my future classroom! :D

    Recess and Beyond

  12. Love these! Is it possible to print them in a large size so that they can go on a bulletin board instead?


  13. I love these! Can't wait to use these with my guided reading groups!

  14. Hi these are great!! by any chance do you have these in a word document i want to translate them?