Reader's Response Journals

"The Greatest Dying"


Writing responses to literature is an integral part of understanding the ideas in the literature. Through the use of response journals or entries, students can ask questions about the literature, respond to characters' decision-making skills, make connections to their own lives, and make meaning for themselves.

The following lesson allows the teacher to choose from a variety of different ways to have students respond to the short story "The Greatest Dying" by Frank M. Robinson. In addition, this lesson introduces students to the idea of a dialectical journal or a reader's response journal that may be used with other texts.


By writing responses to the story, students will:

Class Time Needed

One to two class periods would be necessary for the students to read the story, write their responses, and discuss their responses with partners or as a large group discussion.


On the student handout and overhead, students are given several different ways to respond in writing to the short story they have read. They are to follow these directions:

Reader Response Roles:

Depending on the experience of the students, the teacher may choose to point out appropriate points in the story for the students to respond in these reader response roles or he can leave the choice to the students.

After students have completed their journal entries, they will pair up to discuss their responses. The teacher may choose to have a few students share their responses with the entire class to promote a class discussion.

Extended Activities

The journal entries can be used as a starting point for several other activities, such as follows: