Muddling through the blogosphere

August 26, 2018
by blogwalker

Rethinking Reading Logs

Renoir 1880 Young woman reading a Journal

Renoir 1880 Young woman reading a journal. Image in Public Domain.


I’ve been part of a book club for almost 18 years. Every month I look forward to sharing what I liked or didn’t like about the selected book with my fellow “Bookies” and listening to and enjoying their perspectives. Recently I tried to recall the title/author of a YA novel we had read a few years ago. I wanted to recommend it to a friend. Dang! I wish I had been keeping a reading log.

Reading by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images


Today I did a little research on the value of having students keep reading logs. Only minutes into my search, I could see that reading logs are a contentious issue in the K-12 community. The awesome Pernille Rip posted three years ago On Reading Logs, discussing both the pros and cons and giving five tips, with Keep it in class and Stop rewarding at the top.

The reason I am proposing reading logs is because I see them as a much better option than requiring students to use computer-based programs to track, rate, reward and/or restrict their reading. Although these programs can help students find books at their current reading level, reading levels are flexible. Too often reading levels are used to limit student choice and to impose forced point quotas, two steps guaranteed to kill the love of reading. If your school is still supporting these online programs, I highly recommend reading Pernille’s After Accelerated Reader and Donalyn Miller’s (AKA “the Book Whisperer”) How to Accelerate a Reader.

In line with Pernille’s tips, the purpose of the reading log would be to provide students with a place to keep track of what they have been reading and to become mindful of their own reading habits. The reading log would also provide teachers with a window into their students’ choices and interests.

The reading log would not require students to log hours/minutes or number of pages read. It would not require nightly parent signatures. I’m going with a Google Spreadsheet (inspired by the amazing Alice Keeler). Here’s a link to my first draft for a Student Reading Log (which could easily be shared with students via Google Classroom). I would love any feedback or questions you might have!

P.S. My book club is reading Barbara Shapiro’s The Art Forger this month. And, yes, I am going to start logging our books!

Photo by Tim Geers on / CC BY-SA

August 15, 2009
by blogwalker

More Resources for Promoting a Love of Reading

Since reading Kelly Gallagher‘s Readicide, I’ve been thinking about online resources to help find books our students just can’t put down, as they are swept away in a “reading flow.” Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Educating Alice: If you’re an elementary teacher and can’t find the time to read Monica Edinger’s blog, then follow her on Twitter.  She’s on vacation in Alaska right now, but even as she explores Denali, she’s sending out Tweets with 5 star recommendations, such as yesterday’s link to A. S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book. Eleven years ago, Monica introduced me to Harry Potter, months before the Harry Potter tsunami hit the US.
  • The Reading Zone: Another resource I discovered via Monica’s blog is the Reading Zone. Written by a 6th grade teacher, this blogger provides excellent book reviews and shares her passion and strategies for promoting the love of reading.
  • The Book Whisperer: I discovered Book Whisper Donalyn Miller  through a post on the National Writing Project’s site.  Her reviews, recommendations, and strategies target a broad range of readers, including adults.

    The Book Whisperer addresses topics such as Creating Readers – Part 1, and Creating Readers – Part 2 in her column for Teacher Magazine.

  • How about some of those YA books you already know your students would love if you could just get them to pick them up?  Robert Rozema‘s pre-service teachers have created an awesome bank of YA book talk podcasts – just enough to peak even a reluctant reader’s interest.  Checkout, for instance, this team approach to Walter Dean Myer’s Monster.

If you have more recommendations, please jump in with a comment!

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