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Hibou17 Hibou17 is offline
 
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Reading Log Dilemma
Old 05-14-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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I'm finishing up my first year of teaching and am starting to think about what I'll do next year for reading. I teach 6th grade and what my grade currently does is have students read 30 minutes for each school day and have their parents initial the minutes read in their planners/assignment notebooks. At the end of a typical 5-day week, the kids get a score out of 150 points, which is part of their reading grade.

I have some major problems with this and am looking to change this for next year. First of all, like others have said, it doesn't really motivate my non-readers. Those kids who are already reading record their minutes dutifully, while those who aren't reading struggle to get any signatures. Secondly, many of my students I know are just getting their planners signed without actually reading. They'll show up one morning and claim to have made up 2 weeks worth of minutes in one night. Their parents just sign without actually knowing (or caring?) if their child has done the reading. Finally, it's a big pain in my rear to check the planners each morning and give students their small reward for getting last night's signature.

I was thinking that I could just do a monthly reading log that the kids fill out and that way they can make up time as they need to and I can save time by checking the minutes for an entire month at a time. However, as I've been researching reading logs, I've found a lot of information from both teachers and parents expressing that this doesn't motivate either and makes reading more of a chore than an enjoyable hobby. I'm not sure what I can do to get my kids reading outside of school. I'm open to suggestions.

These are the things I'd like the reading plan I use to accomplish:
*hold students accountable for reading at home, grade-wise
*motivate non-readers as much as possible (which I realize is not always going to happen)
*be relatively quick and easy for me to manage
*foster the enjoyment of reading instead of making it a chore

You people are the experienced ones and I'd love to hear what you use and how well it works for you! Thanks in advance!


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I still have my share of loafers...
Old 05-14-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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but here's what I do, and it feels right for the majority of my kids (4th grade). I make a copy of a couple of pages of our read aloud and simply ask for a response to this reading. I usually give them a prompt, but as we've been doing things differently this spring ~ I'll bet I could be asking them to try their own prompt. I do grade these, which is a lot of work ~ but I like it. However, you could go over them in class if that's more preferable ~ or simply give an effort grade.

Also, as we recently finished our read aloud, a new idea surfaced. I asked students to "donate" books to copy and use for the homework. So, starting this week, the homework will involve reading the first few pages of student suggested writings. I'm really eager to see how this goes ~ I think it has much potential for success. The kids just pounced on this opportunity to have their book be the one that we use; I've already got enough copies of suggested readings to get me through next year if need be.

Good luck! pg

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monthly rdg logs
Old 05-14-2011, 01:36 PM
 
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OK, I have had success with this for several years BUT there will always be "deadbeats"!
I require all my 6th graders to read 5 hours per month on a reading log outside of school. I also use Pizza Hut's Book It pgm. If their rdg log is signed by a parent and returned on the last school day of the month, they get a 100% and a pizza coupon. Also, for every minute they read over 300 mins/5 hours, I give them extra credit for Rdg. I do not accept these late or without a parent signature.
Now, I am not naive. I realize that occasionally some parents signs a rdg log for their kid just because. However, it truly doesn't happen very often because the deadbeats don't remember to bring it back or have it signed so it isn't an issue!
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Reading accountability
Old 05-14-2011, 04:17 PM
 
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I teach 6th grade and this year is by far the most successful year I have had in getting students to complete their independednt reading.

First, I give students a daily reading log (DRL). Students have to record titl, author, pages read, and a couple sentences summarizing what they read that night. Each reading log fits 10 days of reading. At the beginning of the year I checked these daily. In the last ten weeks I collect them when they are full and give an effort grade (check plus, check, check minus).

Second, students have to complete a weekly reading assignment (WRA) based on their reading log. At the beginning of each month I give them a sheet full of assignments. Each week they have 3 choices and must complete one. I grade the assignment on a very simple and easy to use rubric.

Having to do the WRAs has made them stay on top of their independent reading. If they don't complete the WRA then they go to recess detention, just like they would with any other missing/late assignment.
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talgirl - love your system
Old 05-19-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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Can you give us an idea of the kinds of choices your students have for their WRA's?


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Old 05-19-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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I sort of went off the Book Whisperer's "method," and I am hooked for using it to encourage just free reading. I think I'll need to incorporate more structured reading comprehension activities just because of the way I think/work, but I got a very stubborn non-reader to admit, as she put it, "I can't believe I'm saying this but, yeah, sometimes reading can be kinda fun."

I gave them a reading journal with a chart of 40 boxes to mark off. Ten were labeled "free choice," and the other thirty were divided into various categories: poetry, informational, biography, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, realistic fiction, historical fiction, traditional literature or folktales, and "the classics."

They can read whatever they want, but the goal is to read 40 books in the various categories by the end of the year. I cheerled (cheerleaded?) them to it all year long, and only two actually made it to 40. But my non-reader who only read the books assigned to her for a whole class novel last year read 15!

The key, I think, was that I gave time in class for silent reading and I read too. I hated using that time when I could be checking papers or planning things, but it really helped to model. Plus it sparked conversations about what I was reading (I always read a book that they had the option of checking out). We shared books. I'd suggest a title that seemed like one a particular student would like, and they'd suggest books to me. I always read the books they recommended, even if I really didn't want to because it wasn't my cup of tea.

At first, a few only read in class. But over time they started bringing books home, on field trips, or to recess. I never required it. I just encouraged 40 by the end of the year.

In their reading journals, they responded to prompts based on where they were in their book at that time. I had them do various writing activities that practiced reading/writing skills, like "write a brief summary of the last chapter you read" or "predict what you think is going to happen next in your book." I had them write "I AM" poems from the point of view of a character in the book or compare/contrast themselves to a character.

Did I know for sure whether they were "right" all the time? No, not really,(although I have read quite a few 6th grade level books, so I did know most of their choices!). And at the start of the year, the non-readers had very shallow journal entries. However, I would "spot check" entries for accuracy and for books I didn't know, I'd quickly skim them to be able to check.

I HIGHLY recommend Book Whisperer for your summer reading!
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I have mixed feelings about logs...
Old 05-30-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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The main goal we want to accomplish is to develop a love of reading. In my opinion, a reading log definitely doesn't develop a loving feeling for doing something a student doesn't enjoy to begin with. On the other hand, I know that sometimes students have to 'be made' do something before they realize they enjoy it.

With that being said, I did the 40 book challenge with my 5th graders and all but one was over the twenty book mark and 3/4 of the class completed the 40 book goal. I think it begins in the classroom. If you make time, show excitement in reading, and let the kids have a choice, something clicks! Even my reluctant readers jumped on board when I started the year off with scary mystery books. The 'required' reads we did as a group and discussed the objectives without having to answer all those worksheets with 20+ questions over each chapter. When I did this, I noticed my slow/reluctant readers were more excited about the books because they could enjoy it without having to answer all those questions.

Their literature circle books required written responses in their reading notebooks. Were the responses always perfect? No. Sometimes students even 'forgot' to respond, which they had to make up during free time, but listening to their discussions made me realize they were getting the reading objectives we were focusing on during that session. Some of my "I hate to read" kids were hooked on books their peers were always discussing. When those students couldn't be the center of attention because they didn't have a clue what the other kids were talking about, they decided to give it a try.

Right now my one student that didn't even read twenty books this year is all into 39 Clues and I have to take the book away until all his work is completed. He will get there and the best part, he wants to discuss the book!!!

Make sure you are always reading books at their levels and are able to give recommendations. Finally, decide what you are trying to accomplish with the logs. Are you trying to develop a love of reading or setting yourself and some of your students up for frustration or failure? A signed reading log doesn't mean students actually read or enjoyed reading.

Of course this is just my opinion and even my principal doesn't agree with me. But my students come first and they love to read. Hopefully they get a middle school teacher that shares the same love of reading and keeps their interest alive.

Good luck next year!

Last edited by 02BNHI; 05-30-2011 at 12:08 PM..
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I can relate
Old 06-01-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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I have been wrestling over this issue for a while myself. I teach fourth grade and have been assigning not only a log but a reading response with a short summary and opinion/connection every night. I also did a status of the class where students tell me daily their title and page number before silent reading. Many times the pages on their homework do not match! I also see many writing about the same things and even writing about a book they completed a few days before. It's hard to read all 23 tablets critically as well. After attending the ASCD conference this year where the talk was about rethinking homework, I may go back to assigning 30 min. reading for homework, but not assign a log and response out of class. I will do status of the class and have them write in class and assign fluency/comprehension work and vocabulary for homework instead. That way there will be no lies and deception!
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weekly log
Old 07-15-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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I have given my students a weekly log for years. Each week they are assigned a number of minutes (150ish) to read individually. Just like your log, my students must keep track of their minutes and get parent siganitures. Each minute is counted as a point to be averaged at mid-term and report card time. If they read beyond the required minute amount, these extra minutes count as extra credit. This is the only form of extra credit I allow for reading. Once the students (and parents) see the effect these extra points have on their grade,they are more motivatied to complete the log. I have also offered incentives of a total point amount for the quarter. Once a student meets this point amount, they are exempt from getting a parent signature until the next quarter.

The students also have to complete 1-2 extended-answer questions on the book they are reading. These questions have to be general to fit every story, but I require detailed answers that will reinforce the skills we are working on (identifying cause-effect, character development, etc) and give me a good idea if they have actually been reading. I score the answers on a 5 point scale and count this as a weekly writing grade.
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