3 Important Tips for Using Reading Logs in the Upper Elementary Classroom

For years I refused to use reading logs in my classroom. I felt as though they took all of the joy out of reading. I looked at them as a piece of parent homework that just caused families stress.

But now I know that reading logs can be used as a valuable tool to help our upper elementary readers soar. The key is in how we use them.

1) No Parent Signature Required

One of my biggest pet peeves with traditional reading logs is that they often require a parent signature. I feel as though this is unfair to families. Most will fake it and sign anyways, which penalizes the honest kiddos. So in my mind, there is really no point in requiring a parent signature.

Instead, use reading logs as a tool to be on top of your students’ reading. If you are looking at their reading log with them once every two weeks or so, you will be able to tell if they are being truthful in what they are recording. You can ask them to tell you about the books that they have recorded. Plus you will have hopefully seen the books that they are recording in class, as they are reading!

In addition, having students record the days that they start and end each book also helps you to see if they are being honest in what they are recording. After all, if a kiddo reads 5 books in one night, something might be up! Our goal isn’t to catch our kids being bad but rather to motivate them to read more than they ever have before.

reading logs in the upper elementary classroom

2) Record Books NOT Times

I am not a huge fan of forcing kids to set a timer when reading. After all, reading should be a joyful practice where you are able to get lost in a story and escape the world. A timer doesn’t help with this goal.

For this reason, I ask students to record the titles of the books that they read instead of the times that they read for each day. Not only does this provide me with WAY more information about them as readers, but it sends the realistic message that if they don’t get to read one day, they can always make up for it the next.

Furthermore, this encourages students to record books that they read at school and at home! In this manner they see all of the books that they read as part of their reading lives.

reading logs in the upper elementary classroom

3) The Importance of Genre

Our upper elementary students need to be exposed to a variety of genres. I don’t know about you, but it can sometimes feel like pulling teeth to get students to read something other than Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Now don’t get me wrong, I love that series, but I also know that kids need to read a larger variety of books.

By asking students to keep track of the genres of the books that they read, it encourages them to consider books that they wouldn’t have otherwise read. That’s why I love these genre recording sheets! Kids simply write the title that they completed on the spine of a book. This allows us as teachers to see what their reading preferences are with a quick glance, even if they are unable to verbalize them.

genre tracking in the upper elementary reading workshop classroom

Looking for some awesome historical fiction or realistic fiction book choices? Check out my blog posts on those genres.

Looking for a reading log that is easy to use in upper elementary classrooms? You can check out mine by clicking HERE.

3 important tips for using reading logs in the upper elementary reading workshop classroom

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