Friday, July 25, 2014

Reading Logs?

Hi everyone! I need your help.  

I am conflicted about my continued use of the weekly reading log.  (Actually, I've been conflicted for a long time.) Our 4th graders are required to read 20 minutes a night. In the past, I have given students a weekly form to record the title of their book and the number of pages read.  Then their parents sign the form and turn it in on Mondays, taking a new form for the upcoming week.

Problem...I KNOW that many of my students are not honest about the amount of reading they are doing at home and having their parents sign the form is reinforcing this lie.  (By 4th grade, many parents send their kids into another room to read and have no idea what is actually being completed so they are taking their child's word for it.)  Some kids are honest and turn in a blank form every Monday or simply don't turn one in at all. The 20 minutes of nightly reading is not getting done which is not helping my students become lifelong readers. I mean, wouldn't it be great if all of our students felt like this:
New sport
I need to find an alternative to the weekly reading log.  Something that will engage my students so they WANT to read every night and also hold them accountable.  We will be a 1:1 classroom next year, with every student having access to a Chromebook during the day and I was thinking something online might work.

Any ideas?


  1. Maybe have them blog about what they are reading. Could be like once a week or everyday or whatever works for your class since you will have the chrombooks. Then other students will have access to them to help them decided on new books to read.

  2. When my kids were younger, I would just sign the reading logs - even if I knew they didn't read (I know - awful, right?). That's why I don't do reading logs. Also, some kids just don't come from homes where literature/reading are important. The kids who are good readers are the ones who will always read, but it's those "low" readers who struggle and probably won't read. Using Lena's idea, how about having them write on Kidblog about what they read - like 3 - 5 sentences/night? I don't really know - this reading log is a real dilemma - I hope someone else comes up with a good idea because it's not me.

  3. I would love an alternative too!! I did reading log bookmarks in the past where they kept track of pages. I guess you could do that without having a parent signature and just see that they read by the pages??..... I do like the idea of using the chromebooks. Maybe each morning for morning work a student can type something up and then at the end of the week submit it to you?
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  4. Maybe you can give them specific reading prompts that are general enough to apply to individual student's books? Then, like Lena said, have them blog about it! Create a class blog platform or use something like moodle?

  5. I quit using the reading logs and gave them assignments from the Scholastic Action Magazine. For example, Monday night they had read the article, and provide post-it notes with their evidence of close reading. The next night, they had to answer the comprehension questions for the article. All of this, including the post-its were in their Notebook. Every morning before rotations, I could easily do a spot-check. Every Friday, they turned them in to me. It forced them to actually read, and saved me from the frustration of grading reading logs that had become meaningless.

  6. I have not used this site - but I love what it has to offer - since you are going 1:1 maybe you can check it out. They have reading logs and they can refer books to each other - like a reading community

  7. I echo the blogging idea. You could use Kidblog or set up a private group on Goodreads and their responses could be more a review of the books they are reading-what they liked, why they wouldn't recommend it to their friends. Not only do I think it keeps them more honest, but it also makes it more fun!

    Not Just Child's Play

  8. I'm going to be having my kids write a reading response letter once a week, but I'm also going to have them keep a 'reading portfolio'. I haven't decided exactly what's going in it yet, but one thing will be a 'books read' list. I assign 20 min of reading each night as well, and I know that some do it and some don't, so I try to make sure they get 30 min of independent reading time in class every day. And in my room the only answer to "What should I do when I'm done?" is "Read!" I've never had my students keep a reading log because I always hated having to make my own kids fill them out (and I admit to doing my share of 'falsifying' them!) There are lots of great alternative ideas :)

  9. I HATE reading logs, but they are part of a school wide thing so I have no choice, but I know they don't foster a love of reading. I like the blogging ideas others have stated.

    Swinging for Success
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  10. I teach fourth grade and we also do reading logs. My class will each have a Chromebook and I can't wait! You should try using a Google Form for your reading log. (This is what I am going to do.) The forms are great. You can set it up for each student to fill out. (Title, number of minutes, date, genre, etc.) They can respond to it as many times as they like (every day without having to send them a new one), and it will record each response with a time stamp. You get the responses in a spreadsheet formation, so it is easy for you to look at on your phone, iPad, computer, whatever/wherever. This is great, especially if the students aren't doing anything with the logs other than showing you what they have read. *Make sure your very first question is "What is your name?"

    Now, if you are having them reflect on their reading for the week - like counting up minutes, where they do their best reading, genres, etc., a class form might not be the way to go. You can just make an individual form for each student. Then it would just be "Joe's" reading log information on the spreadsheet. (This is what I'm going to do.) You can print out the spreadsheet whenever needed or email a copy of it to Joe. (You can also make Joe the editor of the spreadsheet and I believe he will see the spreadsheet with his responses, but I'm not sure about having the kids have access to edit it.)

    The last thing about doing it on a Google form is you can also add open-ended questions to it, so they can do some responding to reading. If you are doing individual reading logs, you can differentiate the questions....

    Good luck!

  11. I gave up on reading logs a while ago and moved to something where I gave them a short passage to read and then asked specific questions (related to the skills we were focusing on that week) for them to answer. I would give the passage and questions on Monday and it was due on Friday - along with their spelling. I would include a scheduler for them to help them manage their time. Students who turned in 8/9 or 9/9 weeks of homework would get lunch on me at the end of the quarter. I called it "The Homework Club" and posted/deleted names as we went on. I had a better success rate with this than the reading log by far. Hope this helps! :)

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  12. I also gave up on reading logs (hated them as a parent). Tried blogging and nightly close reading assignments, but nothing stuck. I'm giving blogging and Google forms another try since we're rolling out Google for Ed this year. Also saw a cute idea on TPT that I'm going to try - Reading Log Bingo. There is a freebie for September and then you can buy all 10 months, I hope people come back and comment on what works for them this year.


  13. This is indeed a dilemma. I assign monthly logs and use them only as part of my 1-4 Independent Reading grade.

    I think the important question to ask is, "What is my purpose for doing this?" The only homework I assign each night is 30 minutes of reading (5th grade). My objective is to help the students (and parents) understand why the reading is important. I share the research with them, and use my conferencing time during class to not only work on skills, but to also take the time to discover what they like to read. This in turn motivates them to do the reading and celebrate when they see success. It is not a perfect system, and it means a bulk of my summer reading is books for my students, but I have found it works. By the end od this last year, I was able to find that 15/19 of my students were reading at home regularly.

  14. Hey there!
    First, thanks for stopping by BigTime Literacy this morning! Glad to have a new blog to follow!
    When I taught middle school, I used Status of the Class - you can look to the link below for an explanation of it! We did that with the bogging and eventually the kids (95% of them) were always reading. Maybe Status is something that could work for's a quick conferring session with each kid every day!

  15. I also use reading logs, but have mixed feeling about their effectiveness. Last year I added an idea I picked up from a book. Each Monday I would have the students complete "Buzz About Books". I would quickly go around the room and have students share the following information about their independent book: title, author, current page number, rating from one to ten. I occasionally would add story element questions or talk about a book that I also loved that a student was reading. I was able to see if students were making progress in their books and they were actually honest - crazy! The main purpose for my reading logs was to make sure students were completing their independent reading and Buzz About Books also accomplished this, but for some reason I am still hesitant to give up reading logs!


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