Barbara Morse’s Dialectic Triple Entry Journal Entry:  Template and Instructions

Dialectic Triple Entry Journal Entry:  Template and Instructions

Works Cited:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Work.” Title of Anthology, edited by First and Last Names, Publisher, Year of publication, Pages.

Summary of Text (roughly 2-3 sentences stating the main ideas of the essay as briefly as possible without giving the close details):
Response to the Essay Overall (what did you think of the text and why):
Passage, Quote, Word
Passage of Text, Quote and a word that may be repeated in the essay or a word that you find interesting that may lend to a greater meaning in the essay. (Cite by including author and  page number) How you understand the idea (Cite by including author and page number) Responses/Questions/Importance
Passage 1:



Your Interpretation of the Passage in your Own Words:


Response to Passage 1:



Interpretation of Quote: Response to Quote:



Meaning of Word & Interpretation as it Relates to the Text: Response to Word:

Overview of the Dialectical Triple-Journal Entry

The aim of the dialectical journal entry is to engage the reader with the text by selecting text that interests you, interpreting what the writer is saying, and responding to the text. The word dialectic derives from the Greek word dilektos which means “conversation, discussion” in search of the truth.  The dialectical journal is a tool that allows the reader to actively engage in “the conversation” with the writer. Through this conversation, the reader will try and get to the truth of the matter which results in some greater understanding. The journal is a great place to begin the first stages of your essay assignment preparation. It builds a good foundation for your critical thinking, reading and writing analysis for the texts that you will be incorporating into your essays. You can refer to your journals to build significant content for your essays.

To start, in the first row, it says Works Cited. Here you will write the Works Cited in MLA format. Refer to pages 109 -157 of the Little Seagull Handbook as a guide. For our Reading the World Anthology, refer to page 123 item 7. Works in an Anthology for the correct format.

Next, in the row entitled Summary, you will give a summary of the essay as a whole. It should cover the main ideas of the reading and will be about 3 sentences. Summaries are brief and focus on the main ideas, rather than the close details found in a paraphrase.

After that, give your Overall Response to the Essay which is a place where you can make a response about the text as a whole. It allows you to formulate a broader response.

Suggestions on possible questions to address: Did you like the essay? And Why? Did you dislike the essay? And Why?  Did you agree or disagree with the essay overall? How so?  Are there connections you made that will be helpful to you in your own essays? Did it make you think about the topic differently? Was the rhetoric effective?

In the practice of keeping a dialectical journal, as a reader, you will select specific parts of the text that are significant to you. This practice of close reading and interpreting the text will improve critical reading, thinking and writing skills. This “gathering” portion of the journal practice will be recorded in the first column. You are required to select one passage of text, one single quote and a single word from the essay. The word may be one that is repeated throughout the text that may have a great significance on the overall meaning of the essay. The word may just be one that you find interesting and are curious about in how the writer interprets it. Lastly, the word may be a definition word that you do not know and want to look up the meaning.

The middle column is how you understand the text by writing in your own words what the author is saying. The passage and the quote will be your interpretation of how you understand what the writer is saying. When interpreting the word, you may ask yourself what is the importance of the word in the essay? If you chose a word that you did not know, write the definition and then interpret the importance of the word.

The right hand column is your response to the text or your part in the conversation. You can respond to the text in different ways. It is important that your responses are specific and detailed. You can write as much as you want for each entry.

Types of Responses:

  • Raise questions about the beliefs and values implied in the text
  • Give your personal reactions to the passage
  • Tell what it reminds you of from your own experiences
  • Write about what it makes you think or feel
  • Agree and/or disagree with the text and tell why. Give some support on why you agree or disagree
  • Make connections to a similar occurrence in the world. How does the text relate to the world today? Is it still relevant or not? Why?

Lastly, this is your journal entry where you can explore your thoughts about parts of the text that you find interesting. In your response section, you can free-write to generate ideas. It is your place to “talk” with the author, enter the conversation and arrive at your own truth about the text.