Differentiated Comprehension Journal

Over the weekend I put the finishing touches on this Comprehension Journal. It’s chock-full engaging fiction and nonfiction texts and response sheets to help students build their comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency! The best part? The texts are PAIRED and differentiated.



This Differentiated Comprehension Journal can be used in MANY different ways. To start, I suggest modeling how to use these passages as a whole group. Once your students become familiar with the structure and procedures, this journal could be completed in small group, with a partner, or even independently.

You could give each student a binder/folder to hold all of the sheets. Or, you could have them place them in a Composition Notebook (just adjust the print scale to 80%). Another teacher said she is going to print them in color and then will place them in Write and Wipe pouches. I loved that idea! I provide colored and grayscale/black and white versions, for your convenience. 

80 diff

Each passage is differentiated (there are 3 versions). The writing portion of each passage is differentiated as well. The passages will get increasingly more difficult as the year progresses. You will notice that while the passages ARE differentiated, the vocabulary terms are not. This is because all students, regardless of their reading level, need to interact with rich vocabulary words.

Below you can see how the paired texts are differentiated.





For grouping and organizational purposes, you will find the letters B, O, and A in the upper right-hand corner.

The letter B = Beyond Level (most challenging text)

The letter O = On Level (middle of the road text)

The letter A = Approaching Level (least challenging text)


The passages range from 190L to 690L. Whew! What a range. I think that encapsulates first and second grade though, don’t you?


There are five steps that students will be required to complete for each passage. Each “step” could be completed on different days or you could have students complete multiple “steps” in one day. It is really up to you and what you think is best for your students!

Step 1: I Can Read the Text – This step requires students to simply read the text one time to “get their feet wet.”

Step 2: I Can Understand the Text -. This step requires students to re-read the text and focus on the three highlighted vocabulary words. Students will have to match each word to its correct picture and meaning.

Step 3: I Can Picture the Text – This step requires students to visualize the text and then draw a detailed picture of what they visualized.

Step 4: I Can Write About the Text – This step requires students to answer a text-dependent question. Students will be required to go back to the text to find evidence that supports their answer.

Step 5: Comprehension Check-Up – This is the last step. This step requires students to answer “true” or “false” to sentences (for the nonfiction passages) OR write short answer responses (for the fiction passages)







There are 20 passages (10 fiction and 10 nonfiction) in Quarter 1. I will be adding Quarters 2, 3, and 4 in the coming months. Below is a list of the texts included. In the end, there will be 80 passages in all!


Busy Little Squirrels!
The Many Uses of Corn
Who Was Johnny Appleseed?
A Great, Big Pumpkin! (Largest pumpkin in the world!)
All About Fire Dogs! (All About Dalmatians)
Changes In Fall (What Do People and Animals Do In Fall?)
Spooky or Not? (All About Skeletons)
Light In the Night! (Jack-o-Lanterns)
Caught In a Web! (All About Spider Webs)
The Big Parade! (Thanksgiving Day Parade)


Sal the Squirrel
Lost In the Corn Maze
The Stolen Sack! (Fictional Story about Johnny Appleseed)
Pumpkin Patch Time
Dixie the Dalmatian
The Fall Festival!
Costume Party!
Lost In the Corn Maze
Pumpkin Carving Day
Sharing a Web
Time for the Parade

I provide a page where students can self-monitor what they have and have not read. They can give themselves a smiley face if they have completed ALL of the steps. I will be making these for the following quarters as well.



If you’re interested in using the bundle in your classroom, you will want to snatch it up while the deal is THIS GOOD.  Right now the bundle is $68. Soon, the price will increase to $85. You can also purchase each quarter separately for $27 (only Quarter 1 is finished right now).

Be sure to download the Preview to grab TWO free paired text passages and response sheets! Click on the cover below to snatch it up!


Spread the word

Leave a Comment

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Liz September 24, 2015, 6:02 am

    This is awesome! Can’t wait to use it! ❤️

  • Carol September 24, 2015, 12:06 pm

    This is an awesome resource! I am wishing there was a resource like this for kindergarten readers!

  • Leslie September 26, 2015, 3:08 pm

    I would love it if you had a 4th grade one. 🙂

  • Alison September 29, 2015, 6:43 pm

    Hi there, is there a uk version? Eg, uk vocab and spelling?

    • lkuster October 11, 2015, 8:53 pm

      Hi Allison! I’m so sorry, but I don’t have a UK version at this time. I greatly apologize!

  • Suzanne October 7, 2015, 10:04 pm

    I LOVE these. Wish they came in a 3rd grade version.

  • Katie October 11, 2015, 8:31 pm

    I’ve never bought a pack that would have add-ins or expansions released later…how does that process work? Do they automatically load to my tpt account, do they get emailed to us?! I’m very interested as I have a very wide range of readers and I’m looking for a way to reach many needs!!

    • lkuster October 11, 2015, 8:51 pm

      Hi Katie! Thank you for your message! When you purchase the bundle, you will be able to access Quarter 1 at this time. In a month, I’ll be adding Quarter 2…and so on. You will see a “Recently Revised” notice when you go to “My Purchases” on TPT when Quarter 2, 3, and 4 have been added. I hope this makes sense! Please let me know if you have any questions.:)

      • Katie October 11, 2015, 11:53 pm

        Awesome! Thank you!!

  • Cyndi October 14, 2015, 6:02 pm

    Do you have the link to just purchase the first quarter for $27?
    The only bundle I see is the one for $68.

  • Anne October 22, 2015, 6:53 am

    Hi I am wondering what age these are meant for. I live in the UK and am looking for something fun for my 5 and 6 year old them to read and interact with. They are both home schooled.

  • Angela Miller November 19, 2015, 12:48 am

    When will Quarter 2 come out? I have been anxiously waiting 😉

    My students LOVE these! Very engaging!

  • veronica December 1, 2015, 7:18 am

    I am so excited for this bundle. I have purchased your close reading and nonfiction for the year bundles and they are so great. I have firsties who are ready at a 2.5 and 3.0 reading level, 85wpm but no comprehension skills or lacking them. This journal would totally help my kiddos specifically with comprehension. Thanks for all that you do!!!