Trying it Again Tuesday - Home Reading Logs

Today was a super long day. I have my BTS head cold and tonight was our Open House. No shaking hands and hugging former students for me!

Thought I would stop by quickly to talk about something I am trying - again - after taking a year off. So I am linking up with the amazing Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her linky....

I have read The Book Whisperer (twice actually) and took a lot away from it. Last year I thought - home reading logs are pointless - I agreed with a lot of the points made in the book. Unfortunately, without home reading logs most of my students DID NOT read at home. I had a few students that I would describe as voracious readers - the kind of student that reads at recess, on the bus, on the way to the bus and I had students who loved to read in class. But when I asked, the majority of my students were not reading at home - because they didn't have to. I know I should be able to instill in them a desire to read no matter what - but until then, I am making them read and making their parents sign!!

This year when I asked my students if their parents were readers four students raised their hands. That is 1/5 of the students! I am a reader so we were talking about the type of reading where people can't talk to you because even if you say you are listening, you are not - only two students have those types of parents. I think that when I don't assign reading with a home reading log - not only do the students think they don't have to read, the parents see it as an out as well.

So this is what we are doing. Each student is given a folder, inside is info for the parents, a weekly reading log and reading response pages. I am asking my students to read for 75 minutes a week (or 15 minutes 5x a week) and do one reading response page. Students can select the reading response page they would like to complete for the week. They can choose books from the classroom or reading material at home. All I ask is they return their folder on Monday with their parent's signature.

Of course the program has a superhero theme and some incentives (more on that on Saturday!). Inside the folder I put a letter to parents, a suggested reading list and a reading log. In the back pocket I put reading response pages. I also put in a large bookmark - this is for them to put in the place of a book if they borrow a book from our classroom library.

This is where my students hand in their folders on Monday mornings.

I have a label on each hanging file with their student numbers .The folders are grouped into 5 by color to make finding your file a little easier. Students find their number and put their home reading folder in! This makes it so much easier when I am checking to see who has returned their folder and completed their minutes.

At the back of the file folders there is a green file folder - for new reading logs. Next there is an orange file folder for extra reading response pages.

I was able to quickly check the reading logs for time and parents signature. I have a recording sheet to see who has completed their minutes and another to track what response pages they have completed (since they select - did I mention that already? this head cold is kicking my behind).

Today was our first day of returning our folders and about 70% of the class completed their home reading. We talked about it again, went over consequences and rewards and I hope that number goes up next week. I will share with you some of my plans to motivate my students to read at home on Saturday!!

I would love to know if you do home reading and how it works in your classroom.


  1. I have ALWAYS done a Reading Log, but my kids were starting to get tired of it last year at the end of the year. Since I looped, I thought I would try it without until I find they can't handle it. I keep track of their A.R. points and see how many tests they are taking in a grading period and keep up with them that way...for now. I pretty much know who will not read whether I have a log or not. I've also done RAH(Read at Home) minutes...100 per week. I am going to wait a little bit longer to make a decision.
    I hope you get to feeling better. Boo to BTS colds! :(
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. I used to have my kids complete reading logs, but I heard from so many parents of kids that loved to read, that the log was having the opposite effect on them. They were not wanting to read because they had to then fill out the log. (It's like taking a test on a book - yuk!) After reading the Book Whisperer, I got rid of the log. I found that even with the log, my reluctant readers still didn't read. My kiddos create book cards when they've finished a book, and we have book talks often. I find that both of these are great motivators for all my readers. I also found that the reading log did not make my reluctant readers read outside of school. So, I try and make sure I provide at least 30 minutes of independent reading time daily. That way, I know for sure all my kids are reading, and those reluctant readers are doing "real" reading.

    Are We There Yet?

    1. I think it is great that you are able to provide your students with 30 minutes of independent reading time daily. I have just 15 minutes set aside each day, not including our rotations during reading workshop. Your book cards sound interesting too!

  3. This year we started using as a tool to help my third graders reflect on their reading and recommend books to others. I can see what they are reading and it gives me something to talk about with them at their conferences. Like you, I don't have a whole lot of parental support for home reading logs,. The novelty of using the website (usually at school, not at home) has been motivating so far. The other thing I do is give them plenty of time to read at school every day---it's ideal if they're reading at home, but if I give them time in class at least I know they get some reading in. Love your idea for turning things in to hanging files. I need to try that!

    1. THANK YOU so much for the info on Biblionasium. I checked it out - and I am not ready to set my class up on it yet but I showed one of my friends at work who teaches grade 7/8 and she loves it and is going to set her class up this weekend. Hope the hanging files work out for you - so far so good for us!!

  4. I use a reading log and agree with the points you made. I also read the Book Whisperer during the summer of 2012 and decided to still keep the reading log since my team used it too.

    First, I have never had a parent of a good reader complain that their child didn't want to read because they had to write down what they read. Actually, my best readers last year were very detailed with their logs and I think enjoyed seeing their accomplishments all completed on the monthly log. Now that I have my own child in 1st grade who loves to read/be read to and we have to write down the books read, I also don't see it as an issue from the view of a parent. My daughter also likes recording what she has read. If a child truly enjoys reading, how could that love be squashed by jotting down a little something on a log? I would be skeptical of parents who said their child LOVED reading before and now hates it because they have a reading log.

    On the other hand, there are always a couple students who still struggle with reading at home...but the reading calendar does improve it somewhat! It is better than nothing in my opinion. Our reading specialist just told me last week that her goal was to get a certain student to read a book this year and I replied, "He already read a Bailey School Kids book, took an AR test, and scored a 90%". This was within the first week of school! She was shocked since she had him as a student last year! The KEY is to check the calendar often and hold students accountable. This was their only homework for the first three nights of school and if they didn't do it, they missed recess just like not doing other homework. Sorry for the super long response but wanted to give my thoughts here in case others stop by to read. :) Thanks for linking up as always, friend!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

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