The journal is to be an example of the student’s ability to write and analyze the material that he or she is reading. Your journal should contain complete sentences and be grammatically correct. While you are reading, write down what goes on in your head in “stream of consciousness” style in the margins of your book, in a notebook, or in a computer file. You will be making a record of images, associations, feelings, thoughts, judgments, etc.
A journal entry consists of two parts:
The first part is a direct quotation of a line or passage you noted from the assigned chapter in the Smith textbook, copied word for word, and enclosed in quotation marks. Be sure to include the author’s last name and the page number of the quotation in parentheses after the quotation. MLA format requires that you use the last name, a space, and then the number: (Smith 89).
The second part of the journal entry is a paragraph or more that explains why you found the passage to be important or interesting. Sometimes students ask questions about the reading, or they explain it, or relate to it in some way. Whatever you do, do not simply summarize the contents of the passage. Instead, go beyond it somehow, analyze it, offer thoughts about why it seems important to you or to others. In essence, by writing about the importance of the passage, you will give it meaning.