Why reading logs? A reading log is simply a tool to keep track of student reading. They can be used in a variety of ways. Students can keep track of reading they've done at home, at school, or both. A variety of information can be kept on the log. Logs can be as simple or comprehensive as preferred.
As I was gathering information about reading logs I noticed several online posts from those who disagree with the use of reading logs. The general feeling is that reading logs take the fun of reading away, or take too long, or they are just put in place to cause parents to sign one more piece of school work. The last thing we want to do is remove the joy of reading!! Teaching the enjoyment of reading is job #1 ! Teachers must present the log and make use of it in such a way that it is not a chore, merely a tool. Keep it simple, and make it fun!
Here's how I think of reading logs. I think they are primarily for the use of the STUDENT not the teacher. I believe in student ownership of school performance and I see a log as a method for students to keep track of how much they are reading! But that's not all. Logs can help students track the variety of genres they are reading, the number of minutes read per day, their reading speed and more. I compare it to a food journal used when I'm dieting. I don't particulary LIKE to write down everything I eat in a day, but it DOES force me to FACE or admit to what I've actually consumed. It can be quite enlightening! I think the reading log can do the same for a young reader, especially if they are working toward a particular reading goal.
I've been in several classrooms that make great use of logs. It takes students just a minute at the MOST to fill in their pages/minutes read. It should not take a significant chunk of time to fill out.
More and more, research tells us that talking about what we read is vitally important for deeper levels of understanding. Just like adults enjoy talking about good books we've read, it is wise for us to allow our students to discuss what they've read with a partner. This allows them to synthesize new information and to learn from a partner with a similar or differing viewpoint.
Lucy Calkins, in her book, The Art of Teaching Reading, recommends the following "talk curriculum."
Students talk about the texts we read aloud.
Students' talk is scaffolded by us, as teachers.
Students talk about the texts they've just heard or read in school.
The thinking happens primarily through talk.
Reading is interspersed with talk (often after every few pages.)
The talk continuously roams among many assorted points.
Later: (Notice the gradual release of responsibility.)
Students talk about the texts they read independently.
Students' talk is student-led.
Students talk about the texts they read at home.
The thinking and idea-building happens through talking and writing.
The talk comes after a larger chunk of reading or at the end of the text.
(This means readers do more synthesizing and summarizing.)
The talk eventually lingers over, probes, and develops an extended idea or two.
Take a look at this interactive word wall! First graders in this class are frequent visitors to the board during their writing workshop to take high frequency words such as "because" out of the pocket and back to their desks.
If you were alone on a desert island (with your students) and you could only have ONE book as a resource...I'm just sayin'...It COULD happen! This would probably be your BEST choice!! For anyone who wants to sharpen their teaching skills. Check it out!
When introducing a new book to your early readers, it's important to make the introduction effective. An effective book introduction will set your students up for success with the reading of the book. The following elements of book introduction will help ensure success for you and your students.
1. Read the title and tell the basic premise of the story in one or two sentences.
"This book is about..."
2. Make connections.
"This book reminds me of..."
"Think about a time when..."
3. Make predictions.
"Look at the front cover and tell me what you think might happen..."
4. Guided picture walk.
Use the language in the text. Locate unusual vocabulary. Stick to the story line.
5. Grab the readers attention!
"I'm curious! Let's read to find out what happens..."
And remember...Our goal is to coach students so they can read a variety of
texts at their particular level. Our goal is not to "teach the book."
You can learn to keep an open mind and be optimistic about what you can accomplish! Even in the teaching climate in which we find ourselves, where test scores are so "important" and you are being asked to do the "impossible" and being pulled in more directions than you thought possible.
I promise! You can do it.
But it's gonna take some work. Instead of falling into the pattern of defending your beliefs and ideas, try taking the approach that anything is possible. Consider what your school district, superintendent, principal, or instructional coach has to say. Even if your initial response is to laugh in their FACE! Step back. Consider the possibilities. Get creative. Is there a way to make things work? Could you possibly be missing a piece of the puzzle? Is it possible to change your view?
I'm not saying that you should always change your mind. Don't become a wishy-washy "wet noodle." Just be open to CONSIDERING another point-of-view. No fair PRETENDING to be open. Really take a stab at it!
That's my challenge for you today!
BTW, ever heard of the book, Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck, P.H. D.?
It speaks to this topic quite well! Check it out. Literally! Or buy it.
Or at least go to the web site and take the quiz to find out about your