Thoughts on Reading Logs?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by time out, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. time out

    time out Comrade

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    I was considering doing reading logs for third grade (moved to third last year and then was bumped back to first and now going back to third) but then stumbled across this blog as I was researching their effectiveness: http://stophomework.com/i-hate-reading-logs-says-fedup-mom/956

    I was surprised by the strong feelings represented by parents and teachers alike.

    The majority of my team uses logs but I don't want to use something that would be viewed as meaningless and a "chore." What have been your experiences with reading logs in the classroom?
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Wow those are strong thoughts and almost 1,000 comments--that's a lot for a blog entry.

    I read a study recently that said how much a child reads at home is the number one factor in how effectively they learn how to read. I think it's important to encourage them to read at home, that, I would think is why teachers do reading logs. But in my experience parents will just sign and turn them in. The kids couldn't tell me what they had read or said they hadn't read anything. I'm not sure it's very reliable.
     
  4. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I agree that the purpose of the reading logs is to encourage students to read at home. If it gets signed and no reading is actually done, it is hard to control that. If there is a better way to ensure that students are reading at home I would love to use it. But I continue to use logs because it is the most effective way I know of how to get most of them reading outside of school.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    "Lie logs" are a waste of time for everyone involved. It only serves to make you feel as if you have some control over what the student is doing at home.
     
  6. time out

    time out Comrade

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    I think what was really eye-opening from the blog was that teachers had to let go of what was or wasn't happening at home. One teacher had responded by saying that if they didn't assign reading logs then some children would spend the entire night playing video games and a parent had basically responded, "so what?" And I was like, the parent has a point.

    Teachers can't and shouldn't control what happens at home, just as parents shouldn't interfere with what happens in the classroom - at least in a perfect world :rolleyes:

    But on to the reading logs dilemma. I think I came up with a happy medium. I'm going to focus on encouraging reading at home without making anything mandatory. Of course, I want my students reading every night but I don't think having traditional logs will make that happen. I found these two really great sites that allow students to track their reading online.

    http://www.skratchpublishing.com/TourSkratchTrack.aspx (this seems to have some registration issues right now but am hoping it will be resolved soon)

    http://biblionasium.com/

    I'm going to spend some time exploring both of these sites over the summer and will pick one of them to use with my students this year. I will make participation in this program completely voluntary. I think it would be a neat and fun way to share what we are reading with each other.

    I'm also going to hold more independent reading conferences to help make sure students are staying on top of their reading. Hopefully, these two systems will help students increase their independent reading.
     
  7. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    We are required to assign reading as homework each night. So we have to do something to encourage it to happen.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I believe there are other ways to foster encouragement, but if this is what you feel works for you.....
     
  9. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    How else would you suggest requiring them to read at night with a way to keep track of it (those are the specific requirements we have)?

    I think the logs are tedious, some students it benefits them greatly and they put the effort in. At the same time, it is just one more thing for me to look at that most of the time I don't.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Seems your required conditions changed from being required to assign reading every night to required to assign and track reading every night. If you are required to track then basically it is some form of log or written response. A written response would add much more time to the student's homework.

    Guess you have to do it since you are saying you are required to track as well.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I really don't think it's about control. I meet lots of parents who are just really uninformed. I used to work in an office with a woman who I thought was a wonderful mom. When I was getting certified I had to do a case study with an emergent reader-her son was 4, so she let me work with him. He had literally never picked up a book before, never been read to. When I asked her about it she said "well, he likes movies and video games". I really don't think she understood how much reading with him would benefit him-I truly believe that's the intention of logs, to follow up on what they are doing in class, give them an opportunity to practice their skills.

    Timeout-it sounds like you have a good plan.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I didn't read any comments because I was already too annoyed by the actual blog post. Feel like an unpaid employee? Welcome to something called being a parent!
     
  13. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Yes, we are required to assign the reading, but also have some proof that it is happening. Thus the log for tracking. I just did not state all of that information in the initial post.
     
  14. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Yeah, the tone was pretty harsh. I read the comments more out of curiosity to see how teachers would respond. I couldn't imagine having to work with a parent like her.
     
  15. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    We are not required to send homework but I have some children and parents who ask for it. We are a project based school so I send home projects for the children to do that require them to use a multitude of skills (including reading). And, since I have people who wouldn't do the homework regardless of whether it is assigned or not, the children who return the projects are allowed to present their project in front of the class.

    That said, I do use reading logs in school. They are the type of log that requires writing about text connections (hello common core).
     
  16. TerriInCa

    TerriInCa Companion

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    As a mom I hate reading logs. Doing them with my son is a pain. He is special needs and hates writing the 1-2 sentences about every story. He loves the reading part though. My daughter loved the reading part as well, but never wanted to write the sentences. She just wanted to read and enjoy the book. I am glad she doesn't have reading logs in middle school.

    As a teacher I see them as a necessary evil. But at the same time I think requiring writing more than the title and author is a bit much. IF (big if) you are already requiring other homework as well. I will be doing reading logs, but I am not going to require them to write about their reading this year.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think writing about what you're reading is critical in young learners...and even older ones. It's extremely rare I assign homework beyond reading toward AR goals (which are super reasonable), but I wouldn't feel bad about having some sort of basic response journal system for home considering I don't otherwise assign work. Like many teachers, I try to accomplish a lot of teaching and learning at school so students can focus on the other equally facets of their lives, but it saddens me that parents would be opposed to having their children read fifteen minutes a night.
     
  18. TerriInCa

    TerriInCa Companion

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    Doing a reading response journal as homework and the ONLY homework is fine with me. But I have to do spelling, reading & math every night for my kiddos, writing about their reading is too much on top of all that.
     
  19. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    There are many ways to hold children accountable for reading homework without using logs. In my personal experience, students simply throw something down on the log without even doing the reading. Have them practice read a text then read a selection to you to check for fluency improvement (can easily be done at the beginning of a guided reading group). Give a short quiz about the required reading. If your school has AR, require a certain number of AR points per 9 weeks. If you get creative, you can find a number of ways to do this. I am all for students reading at home, but a log doesn't prove they actually did it.
     
  20. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    A lot of my students have issues reading the same book until they finish it. Filling out what they're reading on a log helps me keep track of what they're reading. (Are they reading the same book until they finish? Are they reading more than one book at a time? Are they starting book after book and not finishing? What books are they interested in? What types of books do we need more of? Are they reading books on their level?) I could get so much information from a reading log.

    Despite whatever you think of it as a teacher, I thought the parent on the blog's tone was extremely condescending. I would be really upset to have that parent in my class. If she feels so strongly about the way her daughter should practice her reading then maybe she needs to home school her. She mocks the teaching thanking the parents for their partnership, but she's not willing to be a "partner" with the teacher. She's setting the example for her daughter that "oh we can do what we want and what we see fit and ignore your teacher's rules or expectations." That's a horrible message to send.
     
  21. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I was reading the comments, came across this, and had to stop. I think this is why I'll always work in a Title 1 school. My students' parents would never talk like this.

    “Thank you for your partnership in your child’s education.”

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    It’s been whispered that educational staff thinks parents are idiots. Look no further than here for proof.

    Thanks, FedUpMom, for refuting that. You pay them, they work for you, not the other way around. Go show them what a true partnership looks like. You have leverage in these tough economic times. They can’t afford to lose your checkbook.
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Stay calm, JustMe, stay calm...
     
  23. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    On top of the reading requirement for homework we are expected to assign 10 minutes of homework a night per grade level. 1st grade 10 min. 2nd 20 min. 3rd 30 min. etc. Again, the reading time is expected to be on top of that. The fun part is when some students can get the homework assigned done in 10 min. while others take an hour. Can never judge exactly how long the work will take for a whole class.
     
  24. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    I read a lot of the posts on that blog...amazing! I am thankful to have parents who want to work with me, not against me.
     
  25. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I didn't do a reading log for hw this year and I had only 1 kid participate in the school's book club (for 2nd grade, read 100 books from Oct. - May of 32 pages or more). :(

    I'm going to try the reading logs of 15 mins each night and see how it goes. I didn't see nearly as much growth in my kids in reading this year as I would've liked. They were low and we worked our butts off...and they made progress, but I would've liked to have seen more. My team teachers did logs and counted the reading as part of the book club...almost all of their classes achieved the book club goal, which I think is pretty awesome.
     
  26. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    And that she crossed out that part of the agreement and said she'd refuse to do it...I don't even know how I would respond at that point, especially if that was something considered in a homework grade.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    But if you are using reading logs as homework grades, exactly what are you assessing other than compliance in writing something on the log. Logs are easily falsified by those that do not read, those that read but forget to do the log and fill it in last minute, and many other variations of the 'lie log'. You may claim it verifies reading but all it really verifies is that someone took time out of their evening or weekend to write a title, author, and some page numbers.

    It shows no growth, it shows no ability, it shows nothing other than someone wrote something on the paper because they were required to do so. Since there is no other validation of the reading or learning, it really is just a compliance paper for you used to inappropriately show academic mastery snce this homework grade is used toward grades.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm sorry, but what you are really saying here is you are thankful to have parents that do what you ask instead of a possible solution that may be best for the student.
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    No. There is a way to work with teachers, but it seems this woman was clearly not willing to do that. Her attitude was awful.
     
  30. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    :yeahthat:
     
  31. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    If you take the time to talk to the students about their reading and you check over the logs to see if they are reading books that are generally at their level, its really not a waste of time. They can be a useful tool.
     
  32. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I have to say that your tone in responding to many of the posts on this thread seems very attacking. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions and this is a place to discuss topics, we really need to strive for being civil towards each other and not bashing other's ideas or opinions. :2cents:
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is highly possible her attitude became that way after years to try to work with the teachers as a team, not as someone that had to obey every directive without question. Attitudes such as the one this mom has came from years of trying to work 'with' teachers, but the problem if you read her other blog posts that the definition of 'with' seemed to always be 'comply'. There is a big difference. When everyone has to comply with what one member says, it really isn't a team.
     
  34. eddygirl

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    OUCH!! Did you read the blog entries, a2z? I read quite a few of them, not because I give a "hoot" about reading logs (I don't use them in my HS English classes), but because I was stunned at the vitriol that was directed at teachers. Yes, my parents DO work with me, because I let them know at the beginning of the year that I consider us a team, working for the benefit of their child. In 12 years of teaching, I have only had one parent (I'm not lying!) walk away from a conference who was not satisfied with my rationale behind a certain procedure in my classroom; I'd say that shows I know how to work not only with my student population, but with my parent population as well.
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'm glad the mother found a school which better suits her needs. The end. :)
     
  36. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I repeat...I have to say that your tone in responding to many of the posts on this thread seems very attacking. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions and this is a place to discuss topics, we really need to strive for being civil towards each other and not bashing other's ideas or opinions.
     
  37. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I had to do them a couple of years at one school. I found that they didn't really track reading. It tracked how many students remembered to have their parents blindly sign off on them!
     
  38. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    :)
     
  39. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I used reading logs this year. I made a page in Publisher with about 30 clip art books on it. Every time a student read at home they had their parents write the date and the number of minutes on one of the books. When they filled the page, the parents signed the bottom and the students could bring the page in and exchange it for a prize. Some students filled in 5 pages, others didn't hand in a single one. I can't control what happens at home. I had only 1 student hand in a paper that was obviously not seen by any parent, but it was nearly the end of the year and the student hadn't brought in a form all year so I let it go.
     
  40. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, I take that back. She isn't happy with the Quaker school either. The end. :)
     
  41. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    :lol:
     

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