Reading Logs

15 Jan

Research says that students need to read at least 2 hours per day just to maintain their reading level.  Where are they going to do all of that reading?  If you’re lucky enough to have a big chunk of the day available for reading workshop, they might do 30-45 minutes of reading there.  They may do some more reading in the content areas as well.  However, to reach and exceed that two hours, students are going to need to do a significant amount of reading at home.

What kind of reading matters as well.  If a child spends over two hours a day reading texts that are fairly easy, or texts that are extremely challenging and frustrating, their growth will stall.  How, as teachers, do we monitor and guide all of this independent reading work?

Most teachers I know use Reading Logs.  A reading log is a tool to track a child’s independent reading.  Below is an example of the log that I use.


Reading Log 1st Page

Reading Log 1st Page.  On this page, I keep track of whether children are reading the same book consistently (this student is in a Laura Ingles Wilder Phase), their reading rate, and if they’re reading every night.


Reading Log: Completed Books Page.  This page tells me at a glance how many books and pages a child completes in a month.  The bottom two sticky notes are examples of thinking work from our class read aloud and from the child’s independent reading.


Reading Log: Last Page Reflection.  I ask students to set and reflect on their goals each month.  This is tricky–students tend to fall back on the “read more, read faster, write more sticky notes” goals, like the one you see here.  I’m still working on it :).

Depending on how you design your log, you can use it to learn about a variety of aspects of your students reading:

  • How long do they usually read for?
  • What is their rate of reading?  Around 25 pages in 30 minutes (which is the average rate for a reader in a just-right book) or is it much slower or much faster?
  • Do they consistently finish books, or bounce around?
  • What genres do they like to read?  Do they read a variety of literature or just one kind?
  • What level of texts do they choose?  Books at the easy level?  Just-right?  Frustration?

From these research points, you can pull teaching points.  For example, if you notice the child reads for very brief periods of time, you might plan some conferences on:

  • Setting goals for yourself as a reader (either by using a timer or setting a page goal.)
  • Choosing times and places that make it easier to read for longer.

If their reading rate is off, you might plan conferences on:

  • setting small goals for how many pages to read in five minutes and pushing yourself.
  • Reading in a place that is quiet so you can focus.
  • Slowing down if you’re a speed reader.  STOP sign sticky notes are helpful here as reminders.
  • Thinking about if the book is too difficult or too easy as the reason the rate is off.

And so on.  There are lots of different ways to do logs, but for upper grades, I prefer one that tracks their in school reading and their home reading.  That way I can tell if they’re being consistent.

Just like anything else in the classroom, the reading log is a routine.  Unless you use it everyday, and even work it into some lessons (you can have days where students study their logs like scientists, analyzing what kind of reader they are or how much they have grown), it can become a drudgery.  Encourage parents to check their child’s log too.  At back to school night each year, part of the discussion is how parents can use the log as a way to start a conversation with their child about what kind of reading work they are doing.  I’m attaching the log that we’ve modified at my school and been using for a number of years.  We decided it was important to know what book they were reading, how long they read for, and how many pages they read on the main log.  On the back we have some reflection pages that they work on each month.  The purpose is for them to constantly be setting goals and reflecting on their previous work.  I’m still working on that piece!

I’m attaching the log for those who are interested in using/modifying it.

Reading Log – 2012

5 Responses to “Reading Logs”

  1. Nicole January 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    I love the rubric, going to add that to my Feb reading log. My problem, as always, are the reluctant readers (or lazies who don’t do any homework, for that matter). No completed books by the end of the month, or not recording on their logs when they do read. Any ideas on consequences or ways to fix this?

    • jenniferdines January 16, 2013 at 3:36 am #

      I am impressed that you require 600 pages per month. I appreciate the specificity of that requirement. I am curious as to where you saw the “two hours per day” piece of research. I have never seen that before!

    • elizabethstavis January 16, 2013 at 6:29 am #

      No foolproof solutions of course! Recording on their logs in class is more a matter of habit and monitoring. I just make that the first thing I check as they read (logs are out, book is recorded) and that can happen pretty regularly. At home…if reading’s not recorded at home, I assume it’s not done, so I give them the opportunity to read in class during recess (or lunch if I’m prepping, which isn’t too often.) Getting the parents involved helps, but I still have a few students where it’s a consistent problem.
      Also, in terms of managing tracking the logs, this year I started having a homework helper at each table check the logs in the morning, which really helped me to save time and just zero in on the guys who habitually needed some focus.

    • elizabethstavis January 16, 2013 at 6:30 am #

      The research comes from Columbia Teachers’ College–if I find the exact citation I’ll send it to you. Keep in mind that’s all reading–menu reading, independent reading, science reading, etc. It is a lot!


  1. Reading Rates « Wordsmatter - January 21, 2013

    […] few days ago I posted about the reading log we developed at my school.  One of the components of the log is the goal that students will have […]

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