Thinking Teaching Creating

Thoughts, Tips, Ideas, and Projects from a Creative Teacher Mama

Ready to Ditch the Reading Logs

I’ve been teaching for 10 years, and I’ve used reading logs at least to some extent every year.  I tend to slack off about it around February every year, and no one gets upset when it happens.  I’ve been told by parents that their child used to read for hours until they were asked to use a reading log.  Once they had to log their reading, they read much less often, and even began choosing their books by the length of the title.  If the title was long, it didn’t make the cut because they would have to write the title.  These comments from parents were a big red flag for me, but everyone I knew used reading logs in their classroom, so it must not be a bad practice, right?

Then there are the times that kids have written down titles saying that they read a book, and later that day that same child talked about how they didn’t have time to do anything that night because they went straight from school to afterschool activities, ate dinner in the car, and got home just in time to go to sleep.  I’m not stupid; I know that there are probably plenty of times over the last decade that kids lied about having read something on their reading log.  So, whether there is some sort of negative consequence or a mark off their homework participation, does a reading log just penalize the honest children, rather than actually holding them accountable for doing some reading outside of school?

This summer, I participated in my library’s summer reading program.  You log your reading (just the title[s]) and how long you read [in 20 minute intervals]).  I participated myself, and also had logins for my three boys.  They’re all 5 and under, so let’s be honest, I did all the reading AND all the logging.  The older two helped choose books to read, but Mr. 4 months old mostly drooled and pinched my arm.  It was obnoxious!  By mid-July I gave up logging our reading.  It took easily 3 books to fill 20 minutes with Mr. 2-year old pushing me to turn pages before I’d finished reading half the text, so if we only had the attention span for one book, I wasn’t sure whether to log it and pretend it took 20 minutes, or whether it didn’t count.  Then I had to log in onto the  other two kids’ accounts and put the same information so everyone got credit for the reading.

I’m done.  I’m ditching the reading logs this year.  I’ll find other ways to know whether my students are reading.  We’ll talk about books we’ve enjoyed (or abandoned), I’ll ask them to write book reviews when they love or hate a book (hello opinion writing!)  Maybe I’ll make an Edmodo group for my class for book reviews.  I’ll find something that can’t be faked, and isn’t a nightly chore so they can just love to read again.

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