Reading Logs – Are they a good thing?

This blog post has been prompted by a blog post that I have just seen thanks to @StephenConnor7 on Twitter. The blog post was talking about how reading logs can really hinder children’s love of reading and of books. You can find the post here http://justinstortz.blogspot.co.uk.  The author sees reading logs as a chore that gets in the way of children wanting to read but I think that they can be used in a much more positive way.

I don’t ask my children to get their reading logs filled in at home although I love it if they do read to people at home. Sadly, it doesn’t happen very much in my year 5 class. That isn’t the purpose of my reading logs though. I want them to actually be a log of what my pupils read. All I ask them to do is write down the title of each book that they read. I would like the author as well but don’t get that very often 😦  When they have finished the book, then I expect them to write a brief comment about the book. I still get some children who just write “good book” or “boring” but I am trying to develop more thoughtful comments and many of my pupils are giving good ideas about what they liked or disliked about a certain book.

When I hear the children read individually (yes, I’m old fashioned and still do that), the first thing that I do is look through their reading log. I can immediately see what they have read and it gives me a basis for my conversation. Even the simplest comments can lead into a discussion eg: Why was the book boring?

I want it to be a record for the children to use as well. When they can’t find a book they want to read, I ask them to look back through their log to find one they enjoyed. Can they find another by the same author or on the same subject?

A real bonus was when two of my boys had swapped their reading logs and were looking to see what books the other had enjoyed. That is definitely something that I want to encourage next year along with my shelf talkers.

I don’t think that reading logs have to be something that is seen as sucking the fun out of reading. I hope that they can be used in a much more positive way. What do you think?

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