Why I Don’t Use Reading Logs
I no longer use reading logs in my 4th grade reading/language arts classroom. When I say reading log, I am talking about the ones listing the title, author, and pages read each day. Why would I not, you might ask? I have a number of reasons that I will outline here. I still LOVE the Book Whisperer and what she outlines in her book, but the logs just weren’t working for me and my students.
Reason 1: It’s not going to help the love of reading.
You either have readers that LOVE reading or don’t. I have found that my students that LOVE to read just want to read and the ones that don’t aren’t made to like it anymore to have to sit down and fill out the form.
Now don’t get me wrong. I was a kid that LOVED to read and found it very motivating to fill out the summer book contest logs from the public library in order to win prizes. However, the lists we did in school was just a chore and took away from my reading.
Reason 2: They are a paper waster.
What happens to all those paper logs after the kids are done with them? They end up in a pile on my desk or glued in a notebook just taking up space. What do the students do with them after I hand them back? They end up throwing them away or, at best, recycling them.
Reason 3: They are a time waster.
What happens to those pages and piles? They end up cluttering my desk and taking up my time being graded. Completion grades are a thing of the past anyways, so why grade them in the first place? Who’s to say they didn’t just make it up anyways?
So what do I do?
I assign a minimum of twenty minutes a night of reading. Is it an honor system? Yes and no. Do I randomly ask how far they got in their book or what they read about? Yes.
We have a big talk about how 20 minutes of reading a day will get you farther I also assign Accelerated Reader Goals for each quarter. The good majority of them meet and exceed their goals. The ones that do not meet their goals are usually pretty close. I check in with the periodically throughout the quarter. I suggest they take notes as they read so that they do not forget details and my accommodated students are allowed to use those notes on their quizzes. I do give opportunities for rereading and if their books don’t have a test, I allow them to write a report. AR even keeps a digital record of the books that they have read for me.
Are my reasons bulletproof ? Of course not. Do they work for others? Of course. So take this with a grain of salt, but know it’s ok to not use them.