Reading Logs – Are they a good thing?

This blog post has been prompted by a blog post that I have just seen thanks to @StephenConnor7 on Twitter. The blog post was talking about how reading logs can really hinder children’s love of reading and of books. You can find the post here  The author sees reading logs as a chore that gets in the way of children wanting to read but I think that they can be used in a much more positive way.

I don’t ask my children to get their reading logs filled in at home although I love it if they do read to people at home. Sadly, it doesn’t happen very much in my year 5 class. That isn’t the purpose of my reading logs though. I want them to actually be a log of what my pupils read. All I ask them to do is write down the title of each book that they read. I would like the author as well but don’t get that very often 😦  When they have finished the book, then I expect them to write a brief comment about the book. I still get some children who just write “good book” or “boring” but I am trying to develop more thoughtful comments and many of my pupils are giving good ideas about what they liked or disliked about a certain book.

When I hear the children read individually (yes, I’m old fashioned and still do that), the first thing that I do is look through their reading log. I can immediately see what they have read and it gives me a basis for my conversation. Even the simplest comments can lead into a discussion eg: Why was the book boring?

I want it to be a record for the children to use as well. When they can’t find a book they want to read, I ask them to look back through their log to find one they enjoyed. Can they find another by the same author or on the same subject?

A real bonus was when two of my boys had swapped their reading logs and were looking to see what books the other had enjoyed. That is definitely something that I want to encourage next year along with my shelf talkers.

I don’t think that reading logs have to be something that is seen as sucking the fun out of reading. I hope that they can be used in a much more positive way. What do you think?