What do you mean there is no reading log? Helping parents understand how to foster a love of reading without a reading log

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:


7 thoughts on “What do you mean there is no reading log? Helping parents understand how to foster a love of reading without a reading log

  1. Excellent post!!!! Thank you for sharing your doc, too. I made a copy so I can modify it for my 2nd graders. LOVE this. I haven’t done reading logs since a parent 16 years ago told me her child loves reading every night and HATED filling out the stupid log—and so did the parent. When I became a parent and had to hurriedly fill out my child’s reading log in kinder before it was due–even though we read every night, we didn’t get up from bed to fill out a log–I realized how much reading logs are not real measure of reading at home! Again, another great post! Thanks for your blog posts!!! Keep ’em coming!

  2. Thanks for a thoughtful post. Always reflecting on what we do to see if it meets our intended purpose is SO important. Let us know how parents respond to your wonderful handout. I love that you are honoring their concerns and yet advocating for what you believe is best for your students.

  3. I love the handout. Thank you for sharing it! We are trying book blogs this year – each reader will have a blog to review books they want to recommend for their peers. The blogs serve a dual purpose: writing for an authentic audience and providing book suggestions for others. I’m still working out the kinks, but I am really looking forward to their reviews and their interactions in the comments sections.

  4. Thank you for sharing your handout. I can’t believe it never occurred to me to not just remove the log, but replace it with support for a better home reading plan!

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