- Student accountability for what they were really reading: Even though we regularly share book titles with one another, discuss books, look at book trailers, and call dibs on the next book we want to read from our friend, I found that sometimes students were reluctant to share. Many times it was the voracious readers who clamoured for a few seconds to share a great new find; which is awesome for sparking excitement and a general reading buzz in the room- I love seeing the excitement these students can generate with their enthusiasm, however I wanted to know what the kid who rarely shared was reading... and why. As a mom of
StrugglingDeveloping Readers (thank you, Donalyn Miller for the term), my own kids are often reluctant to share what we read simply because of book level. For a reader who struggles with fluency and/or comprehension, nightly reading can be difficult and daunting. So I can't expect that these same students would turn around and celebrate that in front of their peers.
- A common place for exchange of ideas about reading: I wanted students and I to have an official common place to share tidbits about the books they were reading, progress, ideas, "next read" suggestions and the reading log provided that place. I found that when I reviewed the reading logs over the weekend, I had more time to consider the student and title he/she was reading. I was able to jot down ideas or questions I had in the margins or on the back. It allowed me time to write a note of encouragement or the opportunity to make myself a note that a conference with the student was needed.
- An additional way to communicate with parents on the reading lives of their child: I wanted a way to document what a student was reading from their (the student's) perspective, but also a way to use that data for goal-setting, parent meetings, and possible data for RTI meetings. There seemed to be a needed element to realistically put the parents in the mix of the reading lives of my students. I know for me, personally, when my kids were in the lower grades a nightly reading log was expected to be filled in with title, time read, and signature- nightly- no exceptions (at least... in my mind there weren't any); and while there were many a night we were coming in late from some activity or another, me grumbling because we still had to read (GUILTY!)... reading was still seen as a priority. We read even when we were busy, even when we didn't want to, even when we had other things to do. It was expected, so it's what we did. While I realize that I teach a wide variety of students with differing backgrounds and home-lives and not every student will have a parent so involved enough to jot their initials or signature 2 or 3 times a week as a check-in point for their child, it does provide me with 1. knowledge of that and provides an avenue to work with that student on helping him/her in their own goal-setting but 2. allows the reading life of my kids to be shared with their parents and gives us a starting point when discussing the child's progress, fluency, comprehension, etc.