I’m not a fan of traditional reading logs. I did, however, use them during my first three years as a teacher. Perhaps it was because the concept looked simple. Maybe it was because the teacher across the hall from me used it. Either way, using it turned into a great learning experience for me. My original reading logs went a little like this: My students who filled their log in and had it signed by parents each night were rewarded at the end of the week, while my students who did not fill it in or failed to get their log signed were not. (I never gave a consequence – just not a reward.)
Last year, I remember driving my half hour commute home one day thinking “Whose homework is this, anyways?” The parents or the students? I was reminded of the student that morning who matter-of-factly told me “I don’t really read, my mom just signs it because she has to for my homework.” I wasn’t fostering an environment of reading – I was adding more work for my busy working parents by requiring a signature – not a love of independent reading and books.
So this summer I created a Reading Diary. An easy way for my second graders to prove they read each night and work on meaningful strategies along the way. It doesn’t take them long. I only require a sentence or two. Each student can be responsible for their diary entirely on their own. So now it is their homework – not mom and dad’s. 🙂