Advice for Making Elementary School Reading Logs

Advice for Making Elementary School Reading Logs
The Editorial Team March 13, 2013

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Standard reading logs for elementary school are often disliked by parents. The standard log requires students to document by date that they have read a certain number of minutes at home each night. Then the log has to be initialed by the parents. Some parents have complained that this turns the fun of reading into a chore.

In order to combat this theory, teachers have created and implemented reading logs designed to take the chore out of reading while still requiring accountability by the student. The logs give the teachers the information they need to encourage students to read.

Below are examples of how some schools and individual teachers develop and administer meaningful reading logs for elementary school students.

Multimedia logs

Center Grove Community School Corporation in Indiana has more than 100 creative suggestions for elementary reading response logs. The teachers emphasize that reading logs do not have to be on notebook paper. The logs can be created and presented in a variety of ways such as using Post-it-notes or even video presentations.

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Student choices

One elementary school teacher dispenses with the “keeping track” of pages read and time spent reading. Instead, she passes out new logs every week. She puts a new piece of clip art or cartoon or interesting quote or fact on the page. Finally, she gives the students a choice of questions to answer about the book they are reading. Here are examples of writing suggestions she offers to students:

  • Based on the reading you have done so far; describe your favorite part of the story.
  • Do you like this book enough to recommend it to a friend? Why or why not?
  • Draw a picture of your favorite character, your favorite scene or the setting of the book.

An eighth grade teacher has an idea for reading logs that can be adapted to students of all levels. She allows her students to choose a reading log from a list of 12 different reading logs that she gives them. Here are some examples of writing suggestions she offers to students:

  • Write a diary entry from the viewpoint of a character in the book.
  • Write a letter from one character in the book to another one.
  • Act like a reporter and interview one of the characters from the book.
  • Create your own reading log.

More creative log suggestions from this teacher and examples of how her students have used them can be found here.

Fourth grade suggestions

A fourth grade teacher has the students keep a reading log where they write down the name of the book they are reading, then follow several specific steps and rules.

  • In one column, students write the date they read with a column for starting and ending pages.
  • In another column students write “S” if they read the pages at school and “H” if they read the pages at home. No parent signatures are required and no certain amount of reading time is required. The only rule the students have is that they are supposed to read at home five days a week. There are no rules as to how many pages have to be read. Just a log to keep track of reading that is done.
  • During class, the students keep their logs on their desks. The teacher then circulates while the students are busy with schoolwork and looks at the logs. The teacher may notice a student has started several books and not finished them. Maybe the student has been rereading the same pages over and over again, or another student may read only at school and never at home.
  • In some cases, the teacher schedules a reading conference with an individual student to see where that student might need help. If students are having trouble maintaining interest in a book, she will help them find one they can be interested in.
  • In the middle of the quarter and again at the end of it, the teacher has the students review their own logs and analyze for themselves what books they enjoyed and whether they read more at home or at school. They then set goals for themselves for the next few weeks of reading.

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