I enjoy reading in many forms: from a book, a magazine, a blog, or audio book… it doesn’t matter how I’m doing it, but that I’m doing it that’s important.
No matter how many years I’ve taught, what grade I’m teaching, what school I’m at, or what country I’m in, there is always a debate about the reading log. So why are so many teachers/schools/districts pushing “The Reading Log”?
As a parent and teacher, I’ve tried an array of reading logs: monthly minutes, daily reading, parent signature required, comprehension questions, pages read, reading journals, charts, calendars, author/title, weekly recording sheets, rewards, sticker charts… you name it, I’ve probably seen it, tried it, and/or required my students to complete it.
As a teacher, I printed them, sent them home for homework, and marked responses with stickers and smiley faces because that’s what the school required.
As a parent, I loathed the nagging required to get my children to complete the reading tasks set forth by their teacher. Ugh.
But as I sit at my dining room table typing up this blog, I look at the couch where both of my teens are reading and think to myself, “I did all right!” My daughter is nose-deep in the latest of a series of YA fiction suggested to her by the school librarian and my son is on his laptop reading the blog of a YouTuber he admires.
But they are not logging a gosh darn thing!
Without reading logs, my children are more avid, excited, and enthusiastic about reading. So how do you get around the parental torture of a reading log? Here’s my teacher pro-tip: let the kids read what they WANT to read.
- If they like to cook, then have them read a recipe while you two make dinner together.
- A fan of comics and comic books? Grab a magazine or subscribe to an online newspaper and discuss the real-world satire the comic is commenting on.
- If you live far away from family and friends, get your parents or in-laws to write regular emails to your child which they can respond to. This idea helps kill two birds with one stone as you also get your children to practice writing too!
- Tap in to their interest by finding a blog they can follow: like LEGOs, outer space, or animal rescue.
If your child’s teacher sends home the dreaded log, I’m sorry to say, you won’t be able to avoid the torture of tracking minutes or signing a sheet to say you saw your kid reading. But you will help build the habit of reading. And that is more important than anything.
Some alternative ways to complete reading log goals:
- audio books
- home language books
Ultimately, the most important thing we parents and teachers can do is read by example. We can’t expect our kids to do something we are not willing to do ourselves. So, grab a novel, download an audio book, join a Book Club, open a magazine, or cuddle with the kids on the couch–it doesn’t matter how you’re doing it just that you’re doing it.