Do you use Reading Logs with your students? They were common practice when I started teaching, and there wasn’t much discussion about them at the time. I have been rethinking them recently, however, particularly for beginning readers.
The year I used traditional reading logs
When I was a first grade teacher early in my career, I sent traditional reading logs home, but had mixed feelings about continuing with them after noticing the lack of enthusiasm from students and parents. A few of my students diligently filled them in and proudly showed them off to classmates, some did not use them at all and the rest fell somewhere in between. As the months went on, I shifted them to optional, and started playing with their format.
I was a new mother at that time, and although my son wasn’t yet a year old, I was starting to think about the parent perspective. I had three first grade classes when my own kids were little, and…
What I learned:
- the importance of the expression ‘It takes a village to raise a child‘
- only a small number of my students were motivated by traditional reading logs
- some of my students weren’t handing them in was because their parents were just learning English themselves, and did not understand what the paper meant and / or have access to books in their first language
- traditional Reading Logs were meaningless to the kids; an inconvenient, ‘one-more-thing to do’ on the plates of loving, caring, well-intentioned and busy parents and caregivers
- traditional reading logs can give parents / caregivers the impression they are being policed
What I changed:
I created alternative reading logs for kindergarten and first grade that focused on celebrating moments of reading for joy, favorite stories / books.
This reading journal / log has evolved over the years to include check boxes:
- Do I find ways to fit reading into my life every day (or most days)?
- Do I put my school reading materials in my backpack as soon as I am finished with them at home?
- Do I look at, listen to or read books about things that interest me, make me laugh, or that I just really enjoy?
- Do I get ready for bed quickly so I have time for a bedtime story?
The most important thing
We celebrate reading. My students bring in their Reading Logs monthly, whenever they have a new page to show off, and share it with their peers. They answer their friends questions about it, the page gets a special sticker, and at the end of the year, they have a journal of stories they enjoyed and who they shared them with. There is no pressure to get it done or bring it in. I do not track it. It is purely about reading for joy.
What are your thoughts about Reading Logs for beginning readers?
While this is not part of
Reading Logs – rejigged
it is the ideal info sheet
(& freebie) to include
with it or in your
familiar reading bags!
Best wishes to all of you as we embark on another school year!