What's the point?
Journals make us smarter.
Journaling processes information so that it can stick in our brains.
Journaling about literature forces our attention on the reading and allows us to
discover what it may mean to us. After each reading, write about it
to make it more memorable and meaningful to you.
of journal entries makes a record that can be reviewed later to
refresh and strengthen our memory. Keep all journal entries on one
computer file so that you can easily find them and review them as a
group. Reading your journal periodically helps you to improve your
How long should
each journal entry be?
in this course are designed to provide about two hours of reading.
If you then spend another hour writing about the reading, that's a
good ratio of 2:1, reading to writing. When reading is especially
difficult to comprehend, spend more time writing on it, if you can.
In any case, take enough writing time
to get beyond present distractions and really concentrate on the
subject. I like to try for at 500 words in each journal entry. I
usually get better results at 1000 words or more.
should be in a journal?
should write what you think you may need to remember. I recommend:
First, write a summary of what you
have read. The more detailed your summary is, the better the source
will stick in your mind. It is especially important to summarize
texts that you do not understand; the summary process can force you
to figure them out or at least to articulate your questions.
Second, if there's time after the
summary has been written, answer a question about the source. In
each journal assignment in this course, several questions have been suggested
However, you may write on a different question that interests you.
How should the journal
be posted in the
students enrolled in the course, complete instructions for
submitting journals to the instructor appear on the college's course website.
I'll read your journals and comment on them.