Writer's and reader's notebooks can be used in classrooms as an assessment tool, as a study guide, and as a means of interaction between students and teachers. These notebooks, which are often used to complement reader's and writer's workshops, may be composition notebooks, binders or file folders.
One way to incorporate writer's notebooks is to identify them as a space where students can explore an idea, a memory, a feeling or an image through writing. Some teachers use them as a place for students to share uncensored thoughts, while other educators provide specific prompts for student response. Some teachers opt for a hybrid of both.
In many classrooms, students write on a daily basis. In others, writing is used as a homework activity. Parameters for length may be set up, or students may have the freedom to write as much or as little as desired.
Regardless of approach, most teachers identify several common purposes to writer's notebooks. They can function as a tool to generate further writing, a way to enhance student confidence and a means to build respect in the classroom.
Reader's notebooks can serve as a space in which students organize their reading materials, keep a record of the books they read and share the thinking they do about their reading. Notes from mini-lessons are often included in the notebook.