When I first tell my students that there will be no reading log, no signature required to prove that you have read, no specified number of minutes that you must read, no punishment for not reading one night, they cheer.
When I first tell my students’ parents these same things, there is often a puzzled look.
Don’t get me wrong, in my experience, most parents feel the same way that their children feel about reading logs. But at the same time, by fifth grade, many parents have come to believe that a reading log is the only way to make reading a daily part of a child’s life outside of school. When parents sign a notebook or sign a reading log, they feel as if they are taking concrete steps towards ensuring that their child is reading. When parents set a timer and leave their child with a book, they believe that they are doing what will work in order to ensure that their child becomes or remains a life long reader.
However, as I have expressed many times, I do not believe that a reading log really does these things. Even when it might make us feel as if it is.
For parents, finding out that there will be no reading log can feel as if I am taking away the only took that they had that made sure that their child was reading outside of school. For the past few years, since I have given up on reading logs and given up on requiring a signature to prove that students have read each night and given up setting a specific number of minutes that a child must read at home, I have had a hard time sharing all of my beliefs with parents. And it has left parents feeling confused and powerless in helping their child to live a successful reading life outside of school.
So this year, in an attempt to better communicate my beliefs with parents, I have prepared THIS HANDOUT that I sent home with parents today at our “Meet the Teacher” gathering. I will have this handout ready to give to parents again at open house.
I was wrong to take away the one tool that parents knew without giving them something to replace it with. What I have created for parents is far from perfect and is really just a starting point, but it is something that I think parents deserve. I look forward to hearing comments from others so that I can continue to add to, change and revise this document.
If you’d like to take a look at what I have shared with parents, feel free to take a look: