Reading logs... other options?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by BreezyGirl, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. BreezyGirl

    BreezyGirl Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    7

    Jul 11, 2016

    Hi...

    I taught grade 5/6 last year and I didn't do an official reading log. As a parent, these never seemed to work due to busy schedules and all the other stuff that happens throughout the week.

    I've been reading pros and cons about daily logs. I have decided to not do a traditional "read every night for 15 minutes, write the book title, and have a parent sign."

    Does anyone have any cool things you did to replace this but where reading is still expected? I'll be doing Novel Studies and there will be silent reading time in class. So, I am looking for more of a reading at home activity.

    Thanks!
     
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  2.  
  3. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2016
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    65

    Jul 11, 2016

    My school has a big emphasis on reading, so teachers are required to have some sort of reading homework each night.
    I am going to have my students complete a short reading response each night. They will select a prompt/ activity from a choice board. Options include: summary, prediction, discuss author's word choice, draw a visualization from the text, making connections, create new book cover, etc. Of course these options are described in more detail for the students, but you get the idea!
    I am only requiring the parents to sign once, at the end of the week when all responses are completed.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  4. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,296
    Likes Received:
    771

    Jul 12, 2016

    The Book Whisperer, (Miller, Donalyn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009) has quite an interesting analysis of reading logs. My experiences with logs agree with Miller's. My current preference for logs is for students to keep track of what they read and use this for in class discussions, teacher/student or student/student. I prefer not to assign time or page amounts for reading since my goal would be that the students read to read instead of fulfilling an assigned duty. My observations of the logs will inform me if I need to encourage a student to read more. I also prefer to not require a parent's signature; I agree with Miller, many times parents just sign the log to sign it, and some parents don't sign when their students do read. One concern I had with Miller's logs, she emphasizes books; I prefer allowing for any print media. I fear a requirement for books might discourage students from reading magazines, newspapers, and other important media.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    1,164

    Jul 12, 2016

    Definitely see if you can get/read The Book Whisperer, as Obadiah was saying. It was eye opening, for someone like me who has done reading logs up to this point. I'm glad you're deciding against them! (And to think, they probably spend a bunch of time over the course of the week filling it out/adding up numbers...that time is all reading now :))

    The book has ideas for an entire reading notebook where they keep track of the books they read, but it's intertwined with teacher conferences, quick book commercials/reviews out loud to others, etc... Much more realistic "this is what readers do" kind of "logging".
     
    Obadiah and otterpop like this.
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    676

    Jul 12, 2016

    I really suspect that kids just fake the logs and the parents go along with it. I'd rather see post-it notes at the end of each chapter. I have them summarize the main event in just a couple of sentences. If you can't collect all the books, after 6 chapters or so, have the kids affix their notes to a blank page and turn in. Then they can keep all their notes on several pages.
     
  7. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    102

    Jul 12, 2016

    I do have a daily calendar to track reading. We track both reading at school and at home. We graph it weekly and talk it individually. It works for some.
     
    Obadiah and Pashtun like this.
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Jul 12, 2016

    I use AR reading for independent reading. Students take a short quiz after reading their book which does a good job of monitoring if they are reading, how much they are reading, and wither the books they are reading are good fit books.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,780
    Likes Received:
    1,386

    Jul 12, 2016

    This is a great idea. I agree, many times kids fake the logs.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  10. talknteach

    talknteach Rookie

    Joined:
    May 27, 2016
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    20

    Jul 12, 2016

    After reading up on this topic, I decided that this year I am not going to require any proof of reading at home. I will assign 20 minutes a night but no after-reading assignments (they will have other homework). I am going to check in with their independent reading at school by doing a title and page number check twice a week, reading responses twice a week, as well as short individual conferences as often as I can (at least once a week). Anyone I think is faking will be up next for a reading conference! I have always used AR before and loved it for the accountability piece but my new school doesn't have AR so I had to rethink my independent reading.
     
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    1,164

    Jul 12, 2016

    You might even consider not "assigning" 20 minutes, but suggesting at the beginning of the year that 20 minutes is a minimum. I realized that lots of my kids who weren't as "wild" readers would just aim for the 20 minutes, whereas at the end of the year, when I ditched the reading log and time specifics, and instead focused on how to "steal" reading time (in the car, right before bed, while at a sibling's game, during commercials, etc...), the kids who needed to be reading more than just that minimum were doing so, and finding new times that they otherwise wouldn't have found.

    I'm hoping, like you, to find the conferences to be highly valuable, and allow me to focus less on negatives or punishments or too much busy work that isn't valuable. You might be careful with the "faking" piece: just make sure to focus the conference around how you can help them find a book that better suits them, and not for the purpose of calling them out / catching them. I know I've done that in the past at times, and looking back, I definitely regret doing so. One of the readers who was hardly reading the first half of the year ended up having to be yanked out of books in the second half because I was able to shift him to books he would enjoy a lot more!

    One thing that the book mentions is doing a modified log at the beginning of the year (no "minutes read", but instead page #, title of book, and quick description of where they are) each day for the first few weeks, and then no more log after that unless a student needs it. I think it is important for me to remember that not every student will succeed/do better from this, and that we still need to differentiate!
     
    Obadiah and otterpop like this.
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    1,509

    Jul 12, 2016

    I don't have much against reading logs, but they sure weren't around when I was growing up in the 90s. Last year, our school had a goal of so many minutes read (a goal I'm proud to say we slaughtered) so I dutifully kept a chart for kids to record minutes.

    I don't mind such charts and figure kids dishonestly using them ultimately isn't my problem, but I don't see why they're so popular.

    If our school isn't collecting minutes this year, I'd like to just be rah-rah reading and let things be things, no recording necessary. Though I do like the idea of kids writing about what they read.

    Book Whisperer rant: I received an advance draft copy of that book, which is possibly valuable. My mom borrowed it and lost it at her school. Which was recently knocked down. I bought another proper copy of the book, but still!
     
    Obadiah, otterpop and mathmagic like this.
  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    1,164

    Jul 12, 2016

    I think it just became common in many schools...and many teachers, much like myself in my first year plus, feel as though it is an easy way to monitor student reading...when really, it's a very surface-level way of capturing their engagement, and certainly not authentic (i.e. what wild readers do).

    (and tsk tsk at your mom! :) )
     
    otterpop likes this.
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    676

    Jul 12, 2016

    I used those charms for bracelets from www.fitnessfinders.org as rewards for finishing books. After each book, the student would write a short summary and earn a charm of his/her choice. The kids were racing to earn the charms. They were cute charms, but just plastic. Kids collected them by color and loved them.
     
  15. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,780
    Likes Received:
    1,386

    Jul 12, 2016

    What did students put the charms on?
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,819
    Likes Received:
    1,642

    Jul 12, 2016

    Many years ago, I tried to have students keep a reading log, but abandoned it before Christmas. For me, it was one more thing I needed to try to stay on top of and, for the students, it really wasn't making any difference in how much they read. Those who liked to read, read anyway and those who didn't enjoy it, spent lots of time making up excuses about why their reading logs weren't completed. I've found much more success with conferencing and having the students give periodic Book Talks about what they have been reading.
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Jul 12, 2016

    Can you give some details by what you mean by more success?
     
  18. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,780
    Likes Received:
    1,386

    Jul 12, 2016

    I was thinking about having kids do book talks too. However, I had two types of experiences with kids talking about books last year:

    1: I'd say, "Would anyone like to share about what they read today?" after independent reading time.
    2: I'd assign formal book reports and students would come up and give a summary of their book along with sharing their projects.

    Students got excited about both, but Option 1 was low pressure and kids were much better public speakers because they didn't really think of it as a presentation. It was much more authentic. Option 2 was very stilted, scripted talk. They were nervous when presenting, even though it was more or less the same as Option 1. I don't think that either book talk was any better than the other, but listening to them just "share" about their books was much more enjoyable.

    My point is, I was considering having assigned days when students could give book talks about what they're reading, but don't want it to be something they stress over. Maybe I'll just make sure to give regular time for students to share. I'd like to give everyone an opportunity to do so, but I'm not sure how... maybe have a clipboard and mark off names each day, and everyone gets a chance to talk before anyone talks again?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    Obadiah likes this.
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,819
    Likes Received:
    1,642

    Jul 12, 2016

    - students sharing with each other about books they were reading
    - students asking me more questions about their reading
    - students who struggle with writing doing more reading (because they knew they wouldn't have to write about it)
    - more excitement about books and reading
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,819
    Likes Received:
    1,642

    Jul 12, 2016

    Option 1 is the kind of thing I did most of the time. The students did need to do a formal "sharing" of at least 3 books over the course of the year. They could choose how they wanted to share: create a book trailer, do a "formal" presentation, write a song or poem about the book, create a board or trivia game, etc.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  21. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,780
    Likes Received:
    1,386

    Jul 12, 2016

    Did you give them the option of when to turn them in, or did you assign these and have specific due dates throughout the year? I assigned and gave due dates, then they'd all present within a couple of days.
     
  22. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Jul 12, 2016

    So with and without a reading log they were both given opportunities to ask questions and share about their books. So by simply removing a reading log you saw increases, is that right?
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,819
    Likes Received:
    1,642

    Jul 12, 2016

    Without the log, I went about things a totally different way. When I was using a reading log, part of the requirement was writing a sentence or two each day about their reading. I've taken that written component out and am approaching the sharing of reading in a much more informal way. I read a LOT. Every week, I give a couple of short book talks about what I've read and then invite the students to do the same. It seems less like "homework" and more like discussing a shared interest. Subtle difference, but it's worked for me.
     
    bella84, otterpop, mathmagic and 2 others like this.
  24. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,819
    Likes Received:
    1,642

    Jul 12, 2016

    I left it fairly open, with the requirement that they be done by a certain date. Some were proactive and did them right away, while others procrastinated. I also gave options as to who they would share with--we did lots of book talks in small groups (with one group member recording the book talks on an iPad.
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Jul 12, 2016

    Ty.
     
  26. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    676

    Jul 12, 2016

    otterpop, they put the charms on inexpensive metal chain bracelets.
     
  27. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,296
    Likes Received:
    771

    Jul 13, 2016

    I'm seeing a key component here. The key is, the students are reading, enjoying and even becoming excited about reading, and hopefully, reading is becoming habitual. I'm foreseeing an important consequence. A society that does not read eventually becomes a society that is easily manipulated by more popular forms of media or by media that is controlled by propaganda. Reading opens everyone's minds to pursue and discover ideas and truths that benefit them individually and society as a whole.
     
    Upsadaisy likes this.
  28. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    1,164

    Jul 13, 2016

    For me, this is exactly why I have told myself I need to make the change. If I want to help them grow as readers, and shift their perspective on reading (just like I try to do with their feelings towards math), I must have them see it as an interest and something they want to continue to do, not just an assignment that they're only going to do during the school year.

    (Hence why I have about 20 books still checked out from my class library...I didn't want them to see the end of the school year as the "end" of their reading for the time being)
     
    bella84, Obadiah and MrsC like this.
  29. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,780
    Likes Received:
    1,386

    Jul 13, 2016

    I worry that getting rid of reading logs will take out a piece of parental involvement. I know some of my students' parents make them sit down for 20 minutes to read each night. The point of making reading an enjoyable activity and not a chore makes a lot of sense, but I definitely want my students to still have encouragement to read at home. This just means I need to make sure to focus extra hard on communicating the importance of reading to parents (as well as students).

    Also, good for you for letting kids check out books over the summer.
     
    Backroads and Obadiah like this.
  30. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Jul 13, 2016

    How does the idea of reading as an interest play in with the idea of reading out of self discipline? Or that "learning" is an "interest?" I have struggled with this learn to love to read idea for the past few years and am settling at the other end of the spectrum. I don't see loving reading as any more special than any other chosen activity.

    I have settled on learning to enjoy "learning" and that there are many activities that one simply must develop self discipline for. I see reading at home as an act of developing self discipline and healthy habits. Students need to learn to create habits that are good for them, whether they think it is fun or a chore is irrelevant, it must be done to achieve your dreams.

    Maybe I don't see reading as an interest? Maybe I see it more as a means to an end? I love to read...sort of...I love to learn about certain things and that requires reading as well as other means of gathering and synthesizing information.
     
    bella84, Backroads and Obadiah like this.
  31. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,780
    Likes Received:
    1,386

    Jul 13, 2016

    When I was a kid, I loved to read. I was a kid who always had a book in my face. It was definitely an interest for me, as is learning now. I also had several students who loved to read biographies and learn about history, so I'd say learning was an interest for them too. They didn't learn history to become better students; they learned history because they were fascinated by it.

    Even people who love to read see reading as a chore sometimes. I love to read fiction, but biology textbooks, not so much. So, I think there is value in teaching students that reading is a task with several purposes.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  32. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Jul 13, 2016

    Exactly, they are reading for an interest in something ELSE. Reading to learn more about history, love a good story..etc. That is why most people won't just "read" about anything, they have certain stories or interests that they like to delve into and reading is the "means".
     
    Backroads, Obadiah and mathmagic like this.
  33. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    1,164

    Jul 13, 2016

    This was a thought, too, but I realized that those parents trulyinteracting with their kid when looking at the reading log will likely hold them accountable regardless. You are totally right that one thing we'll have to make sure of is that we're in constant communication with successes/struggles, and that the parents buy into this different strategy and understand what they need to do on their end in order for it to be successful.

    I'm going to start the year again this year like I did last year - with part of the HW the first week being a shared job of parents and kid to write up their average weekly schedule...this year though, I'll have kids (with the parents there), star all the possible times they could "steal" some reading time, as well as some larger chunks that they think would be great to read. That'll hopefully develop that parent understanding quickly at the beginning of the year.
     
    Obadiah and otterpop like this.
  34. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,296
    Likes Received:
    771

    Jul 14, 2016

    Good point, Pashtun. Habitual readers have self discipline to read in place of other activities and to be sure to find time to read. Sometimes reading is more of a chore, as otterpop mentioned, but the end goal is the pleasure. I just recently read an example of such.

    "In the 2012 Summer Olympics, a sprinter for Team USA, Manteo Mitchell, competed in the 4x400 meter relay. Halfway through his lap he heard a distinct 'crack'--and felt the associated pain--in his leg. He continued running, finishing with a respectable time for someone running with a broken leg. Mitchell's Olympics was over, but the team, with a substitute, won the silver medal because of his perseverance through pain." (Turning Points, July 2016, p. 29).
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Maven

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    5,658
    Likes Received:
    1,554

    Jul 14, 2016

    I disagree that it is self-discipline.

    Habitual readers are no different than habitual video game players. They both have their vice. One vice helps language development and the other helps spatial development motor speed. We value reading over video games, but it really is all the same.

    Just as those who are horrible at video games tend not to end up as gamers, those who are horrible at reading tend not to be habitual readers. Either can change if they end up learning the skills needed such that they are automatic rather than a struggle.

    I will say that sometimes it isn't the lack of ability to read well that keeps people from being a habitual reader but the lack of imagination needed to create the story in your mind even when you know what it is about. Those who can use their mind to imagine what is being read tend to like reading much more than those who cannot.
     
    Obadiah, otterpop and Backroads like this.
  36. BreezyGirl

    BreezyGirl Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    7

    Jul 14, 2016

    Wow! I am enjoying reading all of these comments. It has given me so much to think about. Now I need to decide how I'm going to implement a reading plan. I will not omit it completely, but would still like to give my kids responsibility at home. I am not one to give a ton of homework as kids and families are busy these days. And, not all kids receive support at home. My homework is study for upcoming tests, reading, and throughout the year there are projects where a small portion is done at home. So, reading at home is not an unrealistic request. I just want it to be more fun rather than a chore. I am not sure of the outcomes in the states, but in BC our requirement is that kids read 30 minutes a day in school. This is great for those who love books, but not so great for those who don't.

    My job this summer is to create something fun and unique! Perhaps a class meeting to see what the kids think. :) I love using their ideas and they love to be heard. :)
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  37. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,296
    Likes Received:
    771

    Jul 31, 2016

    This is one reason I so much appreciate these forums. They make me think! A2z, your comments were insightful and beneficial in directing my current research on growth mindset education which has led down many various avenues.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Facts on Generic Viagra,
  2. mrsf70
Total: 144 (members: 3, guests: 122, robots: 19)
test