What is a Reading Log? Reading logs are pages where you either track the number of minutes or the number of books that you read. I remember having them as part of my homework growing up and now my son has one to complete monthly. Reading logs tend to be one of those little things that people either love or hate.
Teachers have been assigning reading logs for decades. We all know that reading everyday is important, no one here is going to argue that point. Reading at least 20 minutes every day expands students vocabulary so much that we can’t ignore the impact. I believe that teachers began assigning reading logs as a way to keep students accountable for reading everyday because the benefit was so great.
Here’s where we parents sometimes get frustrated or hung up…the reading log is just one more thing to do or make sure your kid does it. I get it, we have homework, extracurricular activities, dinner & bedtime all in the short time after kids get home from school. Then on top of all the time constraints we often have to convince, threaten, or battle our kids to do their reading AND then fill out their reading log. We as parents are already exhausted from work, raising kids, etc. that fighting about reading is frustrating. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids just loved reading or at the very least understood the benefit of reading? Yeah, well if you have one of those kids, count your blessings!
For most of us, we need to figure out a system for reading and completing reading logs so that it is not stressful. Here are a few of the things we have tried to fit reading into our busy life:
1. Reading in the car – my son always has a book in the car. I also keep books on CD with the actual book in the car, the littles love listening and my big kid likes to read along.
2. Reading to siblings – if you have more than one child, having your older child read to the younger one has so many benefits. It strengthens their bond, they learn how to be together quietly (a great skill for them to have when you need to wait in a busy waiting room), encourages a love for reading, the younger sibling will often ask for books to be read to them = you don’t have to beg your older child to read!! WIN!!
3. Book shelf – change books on the kid’s bookshelf monthly or seasonally. My kids love this time, and they are always eager to read the “new” books I put out. This keeps reading exciting!
4. Bedtime – Reading is always included in our bedtime routine. In our house we put each child to bed individually most nights. I often have my older son read a chapter to me and then I will read one to him. My middle daughter loves to “read” me the stories she has memorized before I read her story to her.
5. Timer – our last resort. Sometimes the reading just needs to get done, so we give him the timer set for 20 minutes then let him choose the book and where to read. My only stipulations during this time is he can’t read in the middle of where the littles are playing unless he is reading to them, keep it simple.
Now, back to the Reading Log itself. I have my son fill out his reading log right after he has finished his reading to create the habit of tracking his reading. Creating positive habits is a necessary skill for life. When we choose to see the Reading Log as teaching our kids the valuable life skill of creating and tracking a new habit it makes it less frustrating.
Tracking, that is filling out the reading log in this instance, helps with accountability and will help develop the new habit. A phrase I hear a lot is “A Tracked Number Grows”. So if we want our children to read more, their reading should be tracked. This is where Reading Logs are amazing, because it doesn’t matter if you are tracking the number of minutes or the number of books read, we want both of those numbers to grow!
Here’s where some parents might get a little angry at me, but hear me out, DO NOT FILL OUT THE READING LOG FOR YOUR CHILD!!!! You were not the one given the reading log, you were not the one who completed the reading, you are not the one creating the habit of reading…therefore YOU do not get to do the tracking! If you are doing this, you are robbing your child of a big step in the process of developing a new habit successfully. To help your child learn accountability, they must track their own progress by filling out their own Reading Log. Every. Time!! If they don’t fill it out, it’s on them because it is their responsibility! OK, rant done, hope you’re still with me 😉
My last bit of advice on the subject of reading logs is this, make it fun!! Let your child use special pens, crayons, colored pencils, markers or even stickers to fill out their reading log. Celebrate them AFTER the reading has been completed AND the Reading Log have been filled out. Not a huge party celebration, new toy or anything grand, but an enthusiastic High 5, a big hug or a heartfelt “I’m proud of you!” will make them eager to complete it again tomorrow.
If you are looking for a reading log printable for your child, click here!