Sample Reading Journal Questions

Questions and Tasks about the Plot

What happens in this chapter?

What are the key events/developments?

Were you surprised by what happens in this chapter?

Is there anything which you expected to happen but didn’t?

List the events of the chapter in chronological order.

Are the events believable or consistent with the world of the novel?

Summarise the chapter in 50/100 words.

Choose five/ten/fifteen key words to describe the plot from this chapter. Why did you choose these words? 

Questions and Tasks about the Characters

What do the characters do in this chapter?

What do we learn about the characters in this chapter?

Do the characters do anything unexpected or out of character in this chapter? 

Is the character development consistent and believable?

Which positive/negative words are used about the characters? 

What are your feelings about the characters?

What is your developing impression of the characters at the end of the chapter? Is it positive or negative or a mixture of both?

Write 3 key words to describe the characters from this chapter.

Questions and Tasks about the Themes

What are the main themes of this chapter?

Are new themes introduced? How?

Are previous themes continued or developed? How? 

What does the author want us to think after this chapter?

What does the author want us to feel after this chapter?

The Wider World

What have I learned about the world of the story?

How does it compare with real life nowadays?

Think in terms of society and how people behave.

If a ‘historical’ novel, are the events historically accurate?

Questions and Tasks about the Language

Which words used in this chapter do you think you should learn?

Was there any grammar which you did not understand?

List new important words.

Note five/ten important phrases from the chapter. Why did you choose these phrases?

Choose a long, key sentence to analyse.

Make a list of ten key collocations from this chapter. Why did you choose these collocations?

Highlight a descriptive passage from the chapter – what is described? How is/are it/he/she/they described? Then describe something similar in a similar way 

Choose some dialogue from the story: how does this dialogue move the story forward? How do the characters say these words?


What three things do you think will happen in the next chapter of the book?

Research Ideas:

Is there anything in the chapter which seems interesting enough to be researched more?

What is the most interesting thing/idea/event/language in the chapter?