Nobody doubts the value of literacy in education. Parents want their children to read, teachers want their students to read, even students want to be able to read. But mention the word "Reading Log" and you might hear a universal groan from parents, students, and teachers alike.
Still, there are wonderful ways to add to the at-home reading process and make the log a source of creativity, active involvement, and interaction! It never has to be a chore.
Reading Comprehension Requires Reading Practice!
There's so much more involved in reading than a good story. Reading is a complex brain process that develops over time with listening, thinking, and speaking. For young children, listening to an adult read allows their ears and brain to become familiar with language. Vocabulary, rhythm, cadence, tone, rhyme, sentence structure, event sequencing - all of these become unconsciously familiar as children listen to their parents, guardians, siblings, and teachers read out loud. Studies show that it takes hundreds of hours of reading time for children to develop the pre-literacy skills that will facilitate the reading process in school.
If parents dedicate just 20 minutes a day to read with their child, the results will become evident in the child's unfolding literacy skills. Plus, as all parents know, time is fleeting. There are only so many years we can sit and read with our children as we cultivate one of life's most valuable skills.
Kick Start the At-home Reading Log - Make Reading More Exciting.
Most reading logs are pretty basic. They are a black-and-white printed piece of paper with three to four columns of information about the books, or materials, children are reading at home. Children fill out the title, how long they read, and parents sign it. The teacher collects it, a grade is given, and the log is handed back. Not very exciting.
On the other hand, there are some great ways to make the reading log into a fun-filled and engaging activity! Below are some ideas on how to spruce up the reading log practice and make it appealing for students and their parents!
Skip the traditional reading log format.
- Consider flexibility. Some days, 20 minutes might not be available, other days 30-40 minutes might slip by as a child and parent read together. Perhaps a weekly total is more realistic.
- Creativity can be key: Make the reading log an art project. Make it unique. Switch it around every month. Create seasonal themes. Let older students design their own reading logs - with certain parameters about organization and legibility of course. You may be surprised with what they come up with.
Use interesting formats that bring different reading elements to the table. Some examples:
- Incorporate the log into the book: Children can make a book mark reading log that remains in the book until they're done. Students are constantly reminded of their progress, rather than having another disconnected piece of paper for their parent to sign.
- Focus on Reading Comprehension: Reading comprehension only happens when readers learn how to interact with reading materials. Create a log where children answer the 5 W's about each piece they read, or use different daily questions to help them connect with what is happening in the story, or how it relates to something in their own life. It's reading, writing, and critical thinking all in one.
- Engage. Have students think of one or more questions, depending on their age, that they would ask the author about the section they just read.
The best at-home reading logs boost reading comprehension by getting students to engage with their reading material. Reading logs should help to make the reading process exciting, desirable, and something to be proud of. Give yours a fresh update this year!
Need more ideas on how to improve reading comprehension? Download our FREE Best Practices Guide now!