What has me thinking about reading logs? This morning I ran across this tweet by Amy Rudd (@aruddteacher100) which took me to this article, Recording Your Reading History, from the DAILY CAFE. It made me think once again about reading logs. Is it something I do because I have done it? Or is it something that students truly benefit from taking the time to do?
What Reading Logs Are Not
Often reading logs are required because we want to be sure students are reading X number of minutes, or completing X number of books, or writing about reading X number of days. I hope students will read because they want to read. I trust them to find the time. I don't require students to painstakingly record the minutes they have read. I don't require them to write about their reading so many times each week. Honestly, if keeping our log was bothering someone I wouldn't even require them to use it.
In our first grade classroom, recording every book you read would be an overwhelming task. Readers read a multitude of titles by the time we have been through our morning independently reading from baskets of books on our tables, reading during time embedded within our reader's workshop, and the little minutes book lovers in my class manage to find across their day. Being required to write about books would also be a little cumbersome for many emerging readers.
Reading Logs Are
Though the primary use for our log is to not lose books (I have to be able to keep my public library card), I've found it does provide other benefits even though it is so simply kept. The log helps us locate books, but it also provides information for me at a glance about the kinds of reading students are doing at home. Do students read particular genres? Do they like to read certain authors? Do they take home a variety of books? Do they usually choose books that are helping them to grow as readers? Do they like to pick the books we read together as a class? Are they developing their own likes as readers?
Like waiting to open a present, the best part of the log really doesn't come until the very end of the year when I return them to students. The expressions on their faces as they look back through some of the titles they have loved across the year is worth keeping them stored and organized until I can return them. The conversation they have as they look through pages of titles they've recorded and begin to realize all of the books they've read is one full of excitement. When we discuss what a small part of the reading they have done this log represents, they are even more amazed. Some families enjoy writing comments about the books they've read together and love seeing these once again. I'm quite sure these logs become keepsakes full of treasured memories. As we are reminded by Joan and Gail, "By keeping track of the the books we read, we create a history of our journey as a reader." Having the first steps of our journey as readers seems like time well spent.