Students often discover their own paper topics in the connections that keep appearing in the right-hand section of these notebooks.
As students get more used to writing about their understanding of the literal level of meaning, they also become better at generating higher-level questions and
connections--especially connections between and inferences from text materials or discussions.
Even less prepared students who don't get to higher order questioning will at least know what they don't know so that you can work with them on their basic understanding of text. (In other words, when you ask for questions at the beginning of your work on a piece of reading, students know what to ask.)