Weekly printable reading logs have been assigned to students since most of us can remember. You may probably remember being assigned one yourself as a student. In these traditional weekly printable reading logs, students are asked to write down what book they're reading each night, what pages they read, how many minutes they read for, and it usually calls for a parent signature.
Studies have been done on the effects these types of printable reading logs have on students as readers. The results according to a 2012 study and others have shown that instead of promoting reading, it is making it seem more like a chore.
A few years back, I realized that my students were not engaged readers. The printable reading logs were not helping my most hesitant readers to enjoy reading. After much thought and some research, I decided I needed to change my style of documenting their reading. I tried several different strategies and finally found one that worked like a charm.
I have been using this alternative to a traditional weekly printable reading log for a few years now and absolutely love it because it gets students talking and sharing about the books they are enjoying while allowing me to keep track of what they are reading and how quickly or slowly they are moving. This non-traditional reading log is fluid and works in stages.
First, I print out one "Now Reading" mini poster per student. I laminate them and post them up in the classroom. During the first week of school, I ask students to think of the title of one of their favorite books.
- teach them how to properly write a title,
- give them each a sticky note,
- have them write the title,
- and have them stick it on the bottom portion of the mini poster labeled, "4 Star Book Recommendation."
Next, I have the students go to the classroom library or our school's media center and have them choose at least one book. They write the title of their current book on the sticky note as well as the date and place it on the top part of their "Now Reading" mini poster. This has several advantages:
- It allows us all to see what everyone is currently reading, promoting book conversations.
- It acts as a resource when students need book suggestions. If a student has no idea what book to pick up next, I allow them to walk over to the display and see what other books their classmates have enjoyed.
- It allows me to monitor how long a student is spending on a book and check in on them if quite some time has passed.
The second part of this resource is the actual printable reading log. This reading log becomes a sort of time capsule.
As students finish reading a book, they have two choices. They may either grab their "Now Reading" sticky note and move it on down to the "4 Star Book Recommendation" if they think it is better than the previous recommendation, or they can move it into their reading folder where they keep their printable reading log. All they do is place the sticky note in a square on the printable reading log, and then repeat the process (find a book, write it on a sticky note, place it on the "Now Reading" mini poster).
This alternative to a traditional printable reading log is a live document that continues to grow throughout the year.
Now, sometimes a student will try to read a book that they just can't get into. That is perfectly okay. This happens to adult readers every once in a while as well. If this happens, the student grabs their sticky note off of the "Now Reading" mini poster and writes QUIT across the title. They then move it over to their printable reading log and look for another book. This helps me monitor how many books they have quit, so that I may intervene if it is necessary.
If you'd look to check out these printable reading logs, you can click on the image below to see more.