You asked about how my students determine what topic they will pick when doing a reading response in their notebook. I think you are referring to the reading response topic list I included in my post. That topic list is only used once a month when students actually write a letter to me about their reading. They are simply asked to pick a different topic each time they respond.
On most days the IDR reading response task is directly related to the mini-lesson and is much shorter. Students do their IDR task on an IDR Response Sheet (referred to in the post), or they use the Talking Back to Books handout (referred to in post) to write their thinking on sticky notes.
For example, students are currently studying the main characters in the texts they are reading. On the day that I teach a lesson about inferring character traits based on a character's actions, my readers' IDR task that day is to find an important action in their story and then write on a sticky note a character trait that can be inferred from that specific action.
I am careful to make sure that the IDR task is not a lengthy one everyday. I want my students engaged in their texts as much as possible and do not want to make my tasks so long that they do not spend time truly reading.
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