This reading journal offers insightful and appropriate questions for middle school historical fiction books. I’ve used it to teach everything from The Golden Goblet to Lyddie to The Watsons Go to Birmingham.
Are you planning a novel or genre study unit? Or do you just want to add book clubs (literature circles) or independent reading to your class? This historical fiction reading packet can help. It challenges your students to summarize the text daily and analyze story elements using textual evidence and critical thinking. The standards-based questions are open-ended enough to use with a variety of middle school novels.
Response prompts are provided in two formats: ten whole page worksheets for distribution one day at a time, or a packet to be folded and stapled into a fourth-page student booklet. Either way, two weeks worth of reading response questions are included.
Historical Fiction Genre tasks include:
- Compare settings
- Identify the narrator
- Describe a character
- Analyze imagery
- Describe the conflict
- Analyze integration of fact and fiction
- Identify the effect of setting on plot and theme
- Make text connections
- Each day, summarize the text
First, choose whether you will distribute full page handouts or have students create a historical fiction mini-book. For full page handouts, simply print as many copies as needed of each page. These handouts also include editable text boxes in the header so that you can change the title or assign specific pages.
For mini-books, pages 15-20 are formatted for double-sided printing. Print or copy pages 15/16, 17/18, and 19/20 back-to-back.
You can then assemble the mini books yourself or have students do this part. Cut each page along the solid horizontal line. (If you have access to a paper slicer, this is an easy time saver for you!) Stack the half-page sheets so that page 1 is facing up and is at the bottom of the stack, with 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 above. Then straighten the pages and staple on the dotted line. Fold and enjoy your booklet!
How to Use this Historical Fiction Reading Response Journal
Have students complete page 4 in class before beginning their books. Distribute pages 5-14 one day at a time. If students are reading a class novel together, you may pre-plan which pages to assign each day and edit those pages at the top before photocopying. This format also makes it easy to differentiate for students who need fewer response tasks.
Have students complete page 1 of the historical fiction mini-book before they begin reading. If students will be participating in book clubs or literature circles in which they will read the same book, they should first agree upon stopping points for each day to avoid spoilers.
If you love this Historical Fiction Reading Journal, you’ll also appreciate the packets for these other genres. Biography, fantasy, mystery, realistic fiction, scifi/dystopian, and nonfiction are all available separately or in a money-saving bundle.