A Mom here (and a previous teacher), just wanting to put a few thought out there for other parents who have opinions on reading logs, and for teachers who send them home.. I have three children, two who are out of elementary and one who is in 2nd grade. I myself am an avid reader, the type who might run into you on the street because my nose is buried in a book. However, my three digital-aged children do not have this passion for reading that I do, despite all my best efforts.
I have a child with ADHD who loves for me to read TO him, but reading out loud for himself is a terrible chore because he has such a hard time focusing (my daughter was also a slow-to-start reader and it was this way for her as well). I'm hoping he will outgrow this as we find treatment for him and catch on to the joys of reading, but meanwhile it's a struggle.
Some weeks we do great! Log every night, do our reading, feeling good. Other weeks, the night before we turn in the reading log, I am desperately trying to remember what we read on what day and filling in the lines. (Ideally, according to the teacher, our children should be the ones writing down their own books, but I'm telling you that the reading log is ENOUGH for us - that will be a goal for another day). And no, I didn't really keep a good track (although we did read) - I'm just winging it because if I don't, my son won't get the treat for reading enough minutes that month. And I need him to feel good/ happy about reading so our nightly bookreading won't be even more of a battle.
I've read quite a few examples of teachers and parents who have recognized the "dark side" of reading logs:
Rethinking Reading Logs - Not so much bashing reading logs per se, but a closer look at what the goal of reading activities actually are, with some AWESOME ideas for reading engagement.
Can Reading Logs Ruin Reading for Kids? - A parent/ psychologist speaks to the pitfalls of reading logs and unintended effects of reading logs.
How Reading Logs Can Kill the Love of Reading - Huffpost article - This author describes the counterwill resistance that occurs when children are forced to read, instead of fostering a love of reading in creative ways.
And on the other hand, here are some good examples of why the logs are seen as necessary and used as a tool:
Reading Logs: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Wonderful article about a better use of reading logs. This teacher works toward getting her students in "The Reading Zone". Love it!
In Defense of the Reading Logs - This parent gives a defense for using reading logs and counter-argues that they are necessary.
So what's a parent or teacher to do?
My advice to a parent would be:
1 - Find ways to entice your child to read for the enjoyment of it. Here is a great example of different ways of reading that might peak your kid's interest:
2 - Unless your child loves the reading log, don't even talk about the log - focus on the enjoyable aspects of reading daily and then jot the books down in the log later when he/she isn't looking and stick it in the bag (make it a non-issue as much as possible). This is what I have always done with my kids. I think of the log as the "Parent Reading Log" to keep MYSELF accountable.
3 - Set the stage. You control the tone of the home and reading time should be no different! Make it fun, make it relaxing. Let it be family time that your children will actually CRAVE. Maybe you need to read aloud to your children more often? For many people, reading is a great bedtime activity, or perhaps read-alouds a chapter a night at the dinner table. Or have an older sibling read aloud in the car.
And to all you amazing teachers out there, please be patient with us parents 🙂 I know that there are kids whose folks don't even bother to open their backbacks daily, much less fill out a reading log. I would strongly encourage you not to penalize children who do not fill out their reading logs. Instead, just remember that parents are the driving force of possible success for your student's future. We really need to be teammates! So if you aren't getting the results you need with the logging, perhaps find another way to help parents engage or at the very least be GREAT at communication with your student's parents. Connection will make it so much more possible to have success with your class in reading. And.. THANK YOU again for all you do. We love you!
So tell me, what is YOUR opinion on reading logs? Do you have any great ideas for parents and teachers for alternatives?