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Reading Journals: Everything You Need To Know

Reading journals are invaluable and they will help you get the most out of your reading life.

Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by BiblioLifestyle

Reading Journals_ Everything you need to know

To become better readers and get the most out of our reading lives, it is important that we keep a reading journal.  Generally speaking, a reading journal is a record of the books you have read and what you thought about them.  But they are not limited to only keeping records of the books we have read.  Reading journals can also keep records of the books we want to read, recommendations from friends, and so much more.

In this article, I will talk all about reading journals and why they are important, the benefits of using a reading journal, how to get started, how to stay consistent, provide a list of supplies, and everything else you need to know.  After reading this article, you will better understand how to make the most of your reading life and why a reading journal is invaluable.

My Recommended Journaling Supplies

My recommended preprinted reading journals:

My recommended bullet journal and must-have supplies:

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Reading Journal Supplies

What are reading journals, and why should readers use them?

Reading journals are simply a way to keep track of your reading journey.  Whether you’re an avid reader or just starting, a reading journal is an excellent tool for tracking your progress and keeping track of the books you’ve read.  They are also helpful for jotting down thoughts, ideas, and musings about the books you’re reading.

Types of reading journals

A reader can choose to have many different types of reading journals; however, I recommend starting with one journal and taking the elements from the different types of reading journals that interest you.

Some reading journals include but are not limited to:

  • Bullet Journaling – Lists and trackers for what you read and when.
  • Reflection Journals – Write down your thoughts about a book or passage.
  • Recommendation Journals – Keeping track of what you read, who told you about it, and why.
  • Reading Logs – Timelines with dates of when you started and finished a book.
  • Bookmark Journals – Place markers of memorable quotes or passages from books you’ve read.
  • Favorite Books Journal – List your favorite books and authors and record your thoughts.
  • Poetry Journals – Record your thoughts about poems you read.
  • Book Collecting Journals – Record the books you own, with notes on the condition, books you plan to acquire, and other details.
  • Reading Challenge Journals – Track your progress on reading challenges and goals.
  • Bucket List Journals – Create a list of books you want to read and check them off when complete.
  • Intentional Reading Journals – Write down why you wanted to read a particular book and its goal or intention.

Also worth reading is our: 5 Ways To Track Your Reading article.

How to Start a Reading Journal

How to Get Started With Reading Journals

When starting a reading journal, it’s important to start simple.  First, decide what type of journal you want: physical or digital.  Physical journals are great for making notes and sketches and writing down your thoughts.  Digital journals allow you to make quick notes and store a more extensive selection of books at once.  Some readers use reading apps as digital journals as well.

Also worth checking out is our: The 5 Best Book Tracking Apps for Readers article.

Setting Up Your Physical Reading Journal

First, you will need to decide on a size, type, and cover.  Most people choose notebooks that are easy to carry, but if you prefer something slightly bigger, A4-size notebooks are also available.  Once you have selected your notebook, you can decorate the cover with stickers or washi tape if you’d like.

Next, you will need to decide on how to track your reading progress.  This could be a simple list of titles and dates read or a more detailed log with notes, quotes, and highlights.  You could also include sections for book recommendations from friends and reviews of the books you’ve read.

Finally, you will need to decide how often you want to update your journal.  This could be daily, weekly, or monthly.  Whatever you decide, make sure that it is something you can realistically keep up with and doesn’t become a chore.

What To Include In Your Reading Journal

Once you’ve set up your journal, it’s time to fill it out!  Make sure you record the title of the book, author name, date you started/finished reading each book, page count, and any interesting notes or ideas that come up while reading, which could include an index, memorable quotes, summary, and themes, personal reflections, illustrations or sketches, and character names and plot points!  Remember, you can keep it as long or as short as you want, and the way you journal about one book may differ from another, as how you experience that book will be different.

Also worth reading is our: 13 Things We Are Tracking In Our Reading Journal article.

Prompts To Get You Started

As any reader knows, reading is a profoundly personal experience.  Every reader brings their unique background knowledge and experiences to a text, which can shape how they interpret and respond to what they read.  So, your journal is the perfect place to explore your thoughts and feelings about a text in a safe and reflective way.  By writing about your reading experiences, readers can better understand the text and themselves.

There are many different ways to prompt reflection in reading journals.  Some possible prompts include:

  • What did you like or dislike about the book?
  • What themes or ideas did you notice in the book?
  • How did the book make you feel?
  • What connections did you make between the characters and your own life?
  • What questions do you still have about the book?
  • Are there any quotes or passages that stood out to you?
  • What did you learn from the book?
  • How did the book challenge your thinking or beliefs?
  • What would you like to discuss with others about the book?

Ultimately, it is up to the individual reader to decide what they want to reflect on in their reading journal.  However, these prompts can provide a helpful starting point for readers looking to engage more deeply with the texts they read and can be great conversation starters.

Types of Reading Journals

How to Stay Consistent With Reading Journals

The key to staying consistent with reading journals is to make it part of your routine.  Make a commitment to writing in your journal every day or at least once a week.  You can also set reminders on your phone or calendar to ensure you don’t forget.

Another way to stay consistent is to find reading buddies and schedule regular check-ins.  This will help you stay on track and encourage you to read books that may be outside of your comfort zone.

Finally, make sure to celebrate your successes.  Whether it’s finishing a book or writing an insightful reflection, take the time to recognize and appreciate the progress that you’ve made.

The Benefits of Reading Journals

The benefits of using a reading journal are numerous.  Some of the main benefits are:

  • Keeping a record of your reading journey helps to keep you accountable and on track.  In addition, you can track your progress and see how far you’ve come, which is very motivating!
  • You can also use your journal to look back at past books and reflect on them.  This can be especially helpful when re-reading a classic or beloved book.  You can see how much your thoughts have changed or remained the same.
  • Reading journals is also great for improving your writing skills.  Writing about the book you’ve read allows you to practice summarizing, analyzing, and critiquing what you’ve read.
  • Reading journals help build your literacy and comprehension skills, memory, and retention by tracking your progress and reflecting on what you’ve read.
Everything you need to know about reading journals

How Reading Journals Improve Your Reading Life

If you want to have an intentional and fulfilling reading life, having a reading journal can be invaluable.  By keeping track of what you’ve read and writing down your thoughts as you go along, you can easily pick out trends in the types of stories that attract your interest and determine which authors you enjoy the most. It’s also a great way to keep track of books that you want to read in the future.  Plus, reading journals can be a great way to stay organized and motivated when it comes to reading.  Finally, having a reading journal will help you get the most out of what you read and provide an opportunity for self-expression and self-exploration.

Also worth reading is our: 3 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Reading Life article

Is A Reading Journal Worth It?

Yes!  A reading journal is definitely worth it. It’s a great way to document and keep track of your reading progress, note memorable quotes, reflect on what you’ve read, improve your memory and retention, and help you make connections between different works.

It is also an excellent place to start if you’re looking for a way to stay organized and get the most out of your reading.  Plus, there are many different types of journals that you can customize to fit your individual needs and preferences.  So I think you should go ahead and give it a try!

What do you think about reading journals?

Do you have a reading journal?  Are you planning to start keeping a reading journal.  Let us talk about it in the comments below!

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