Hopefully you’ll love this idea as much as I do! I wish I could take credit for thinking of it myself. A colleague shared an article about it on a district collaboration board and I was really glad I decided to click on it.
I’ll share a link to the article at the end of my post, but for now I’ll just fill you in.
What grabbed my attention in the title of the article was “Unique Reading Log.” It caught my eye because my three-year-old currently has a reading log as part of her homework in preschool. Yes, you heard that right. My THREE year old has homework. Man, starting ‘em young!
But anyway, here’s what her Reading Log looks like:
Like many reading logs, it requires writing down book titles and how many minutes were read for each day of the week. This particular one also asks who the child read with and to answer the question “Did you like what you read? Why or why not?”
Now I completely understand the good intentions of her wonderful teacher to promote accountability and encourage reading at home. I’m being honest when I say that my daughter and I read together on a daily basis and enjoy it, but I’d be lying if I said that I enjoy trying to remember the titles of Daniel Tiger books as I fill out all twenty (yes, count ’em…twenty) of those boxes.
Speaking as a teacher instead of a parent now, I haven’t assigned a Reading Log for homework in many years. I know there are many different kinds and you may even use one in your class that is very effective, but I personally haven’t found one that I thought was meaningful for my own students.
Until now [cue trumpets]!! This alternative Reading Log lists a wide variety of practical and worthwhile ideas for reading opportunities outside the classroom. I don’t usually care to make political references, but I just feel like this reading log helps “Make Reading Fun Again.” Here is a small sample of activities it has to choose from:
One of the choices that’s listed is “Read in Planes, Trains, or Automobiles.” My girls enjoyed doing that one on our trip to Seattle:
So if this were my daughter’s reading log, we would then get to place a check mark or tally marks in the box:
And THAT’S IT. This reading log doesn’t require any busy work on the part of students (or parents)! It only requires reading…anything, anywhere, any way, with anyone, and for any length of time.
You could manage this a number of ways, but here’s just a suggestion. While I would encourage my students to try to check off a variety of different boxes, I wouldn’t plan on giving them any awards or incentives for how many boxes they’ve checked off.
The former teacher and literacy specialist who created this Reading Log, Ekuwah Moses, was quoted in the article:
“We are simply listing habits of lifelong readers and providing a choice. Lifelong readers do not read for prizes, count pages, or write titles of books. Rather, readers who read for pleasure enjoy reading on the go, select a variety of materials, enjoy sharing or comparing thoughts with others, and are always on the hunt for the next thrill.”
I created this Parent Letter to send home with families. It tells how the Reading Log works, and it also explains the reasoning behind it so that they can get on board with helping to raise a lifelong reader.
How often you would distribute a new copy of the Reading Log (i.e., weekly, monthly) and whether or not you’d choose to collect it from students on a regular basis would be up to you! Do what works for you and your class.
Now the best part…it’s for FREE!
And if you’d like to read another parent’s take on all of this, here is the article that inspired me (it’s from one of my favorite parenting websites, Scary Mommy).