Thursday, August 22, 2013

Questioning Reading Logs

Over the years, the subject of reading logs has been a topic of discussion at many a grade-level team meetings.  I've made more than a few myself, in fact, and sometimes, I have made them in response to parents' requests!  Yet, I've wondered about the time-honored practice of writing down the pages read.  Certainly, that does not evoke nor does it encourage real reading for meaning and comprehension of text.  Certainly, the process of writing down pages does not encourage more reading. 

Others, such as this fifth grade teacher in California, who writes over at  this blog
are also thinking about time honored and rarely questioned practices, such as reading logs

I suspect most reading logs are historical fiction.  Reading is (usually) a solitary activity, like writing and like exercising! It is easy to lie to ourselves about what we record in our reading, writing and even our exercise logs!  Thus, what we share is often what we think others want to see or what we think others expect us to have done!  At best, such "turned in logs" often represent an inflated representation of reality!  Plus, I cannot even imagine keeping track of time when I am lost in a good book!

So what can a teacher do to make reading the enjoyable, real, valuable experience we know it can be?

Book Clubs?
  • My gut and my experiences tell me that book clubs work.  I know I get a whole lot more reading done and adhere to a schedule when I am accountable to others.  Yes, there will be posers, but there are always posers!
Discussion Groups?
  • Perhaps loosely organized small groups where we share our reading lives might be better.  Of course there will be posers, but what else is new?
Combining reading and writing through blogs?
  • I really like and want to implement this idea this year.  Using Kidblog, I am going to encourage my students and their parents to talk to each other about their books and to write about their reading lives.  I am going to do it myself modeling what I believe is most important in our reading (as well as our writing and exercising) lives.  It's not the number of minutes logged but the intensity and focus that matter most.  It's most important that we want to read, understand what we read, and immerse ourselves in conversations with others who will spur our readerly (as well as writerly and exercise) lives.  


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