Tuesday, October 14, 2014

No More Weekly Reading Logs

Judging from conversations going on in blogland and the Twitterverse, it seems like the topic of weekly reading logs is hot, hot, hot.  Some people love them, many people hate them, others want to get rid of them but either can't or don't know what else to use in order to hold students accountable for their reading.

I felt this way...for a long time.

So I kept sending home a weekly reading log and my students kept filling them out and returned them every Monday.  When I checked them over, these are a few of the things I noticed:

A student who read 50 pages in 20 minutes
A student who read the same (picture) book all week
A student who read a different (chapter) book every night

Oh my!

Can you relate?

There HAD to be a better way to monitor independent reading that kept students accountable and provided me important timely data.

There is!

It's called Status of the Class and it has saved my sanity this year.

Here's how it works...

Every morning after attendance, I call off students' names and they tell me the title of the book they read last night and what page they are on.  I keep a record on a chart like this:

I simply jot the title (or part of the title) and list the page number. I even developed a code to make things easier:

  •  If it is the same book, I draw an arrow.  
  • The "Q" means a student has finished a book and is ready to take an AR quiz.
  • A box around a box (like at the very bottom of the picture) means that a student did not read enough pages the night before and we had a short conversation. 
  • "No book" means the student forgot to bring a book home and didn't read
  • "A" stands for book abandoned
  • "Abs" means the student was absent that day
At first, Status of the Class took us about 10 minutes to get through.  Now, we're down to about four minutes because students yell out "Same book, page ___" when I call their name.  Super fast!!

How has Status of the Class helped ME as a teacher?
  • I  realize the students who abandon books on a regular basis.
  • I can recognize my students' book genre preferences and can guide them toward other genres.
  • I can see who is really reading at night.  The students came up with the expectation that between 20 minutes of nightly reading and 30 minutes of daily DEAR time in class, they should be able to read 20-30 pages.  They now hold each other accountable for that too!
  • I can make sure that students who have a habit of "forgetting" to bring home a book, don't.
  • I can recognize my wild readers and give them immediate feedback.
Giving up the weekly reading log is one of the best teaching moves I've made this year!  If you are a member of the "I Really Dislike Reading Logs But Don't Know What Else to Try Club," I encourage you to give Status of the Class a try!

Thanks to Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for hosting this weekly Tried It Tuesday linky party!


  1. did you use big chart paper, or a regular sized sheet? This seems like a great idea!



  2. I read about this on a blog over the summer (I think it was yours...?), and decided to implement it this year, along with the 40 Book Challenge. Let me just say, it is awesome! I know who is reading what, can't find a book, etc. It built a community of readers right away; I almost cried the first time I asked kids to help a particular student get a book that he wouldn't abandon the next day, and I had over 10 hands with suggestions and 4 people jump up and offer to take him back to my library. He left that day with a book in his hand and two on deck. A.maz.ing.
    We also stopped using AR this year, so it was a great time to implement something new. I just have a calendar with enough weeks for the quarter for each student, and I flip through my data binder during Reader Check-in. Instant accountability and data, and I've discussed it at conferences with parents as well.
    Thank you SO much for this tip!

  3. I am a bit stuck on this one too - my school requires that students complete independent reading but tracking it in middle school is difficult to say the least. I don't think I could do the status of the class every day but maybe it could work for weekly check-ins....?

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  4. I love this alternative. I am clinging on to my log, for now. However, I am seriously considering letting it go. Change can be challenging, but so can accountability on a reading log. Thank you for sharing this idea.

    Fit to be Fourth

  5. I'm doing the same thing thanks to you! I used to do this when I taught second grade. I don't remember why I abandoned it....but I still had my old form saved and everything. All I had to do was fill in my new student names and I was ready to go. We are three weeks in and it's amazing all that I'm learning! Thanks again for bringing this back up for me! :)
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  6. Great idea! Thanks for sharing. I have to sign Agendas every moring, so this would be easy to implement.
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  7. Thanks for this post! Ana had shared how she did Status of the Class with me a while back but I put it on the back burner (don't know why). Now I'm bringing it back out! We have to do a school wide reading log but I will still be using this as a way to truly check in with my students. I love that you are able to see patterns right away!

    Swinging for Success
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