Sunday, August 28, 2016

Keep your students reading

In two previous blogposts, I wrote about the need to know your students reading readiness and interests (you can read about that {here}) and how to challenge your students to read more (you can read that {here}).

It is valuable for students to keep track of all the books they try during the year, the ones they finish and the ones they quit.  It doesn't take a lot of time for them to do that, and it's really helpful information for you, as you try to match them up with books. 

Here's an example I created of the Reading Log I have my students fill out whenever they start reading a book.

In this example, Fish in a Tree is the first book read and finished.
  • The author and genre are noted
  • The book is rated on a scale of 1-10
  • The book is counted as the first book completed.
Magnus Chase was the second book the student attempted, but it was put aside.  The students puts an X in the "Quit" column.

The War that Saved my Life was the third book started, but it was not the third book finished.  That happens a lot in my class with read-alouds.  Students mark the book on their logs, but by the time we finish the book, they've started and finished a bunch on their own.  

It also happens with students who have 2 or more books going at a time.  So they number the book as finished, when it actually happens, even if that messes up the order on their paper.  Trust me!  Kids are okay with this - it's teachers who have a harder time with it! :)

As students finish books, they mark it on the Genre Tally Sheet at the bottom.  When they're ready to turn the page over (I copy these back-to-back) their tally sheet should match the number of books finished.

This is a huge help at the end of the year!  That's when we total up ALL the books read by ALL the students on our team!  We subtotal by genre to see which ones are the most popular (in sixth grade it's usually fantasy and realistic fiction), but one year we spent some time reading mysteries and they were amazed at how many more mysteries students read, based on that project.

There's another sheet I expect students to keep in their binder all year long, and that's called "My Wishlist."  There are so many times when a student or I am giving a book talk, and students are listening intently.  And then, the next day, or better yet, a week or two later, a student will say to you, "Do you remember when you were talking about THAT book?  It sounded so good but I can't remember the title, the author, or what it was about.  I just knew that I wanted to read it,"  "That book?  Oh, sure."

And that's how the Wishlist came to be.....
It's nothing fancy.  But insisting that students keep it in their binder means that they use it when we go to the library, or when they're looking for a new book to read.

These two simple tools help students figure out what they like to read, what they want to read, and how many books they've read!  

On a whole other note, tomorrow is the first day of school for students!  I'm excited and feeling a little challenged this year.  I'll keep you posted on how that goes.  For all other teachers out there who are starting tomorrow (and for those who have started, and have yet to start) prayers for all of you that your school year may be filled with blessings!


  1. LOVE these ideas! This reading log is less like a chore or obligation and more like a tool for autonomy. Super cool for budding data nerds, too.

    1. They get so excited to do our Team totals at the end of the year!

  2. I love that your reading log includes the opportunity for students to rate the books they read. There were books in middle school I remember having strong opinions about: both for and against and being given an opportunity to express that somewhere is powerful.

    1. Oh yeah! And it helps them figure out their interests better. So if a friend recommends a book, but they only give it a 3, that tells them something. And sometimes, they'll rate a book at like, a thousand, or a million, because they liked it that much!

  3. Love the wish list idea! What a great way to get kids into more books and a neat way to add books to your library.

  4. Great templates! Students can take ownership and feel connected to their learning. Thank you!

  5. This is a great way to see how much students read all year! They're sure to take pride in all of their hard work.

  6. This is a super idea for students to keep track and record what they are reading...I love the box at the bottom to check the genre!! It is also a way for students to SEE what they have done as well!

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  8. Great ideas for tracking reading and for guiding reading conferences!

  9. I also think the wish list is a great idea. Thanks for giving me so many ideas that I can implement in my classroom!