Thursday, October 12, 2017

Just One Thing #IMMOOC

I am not sure why I did it.

Maybe it was because I was a new teacher.
Maybe it was because everyone did it.
Maybe it was because I thought that it would actually work.

When I started teaching first grade, I required a reading log. It started as a activity that parents and children would do together. 

Spend every evening reading wonderful books.
Record the minutes, record the title and author. 
Turn it in to me on Monday.


The harsh reality of the reading log was made clear to me once I had my own first grader at home. Every night after tubbie time, we would climb into her bed with a pile of wonderful picture books. 

We would laugh at the stories.
We would wonder about the characters.
We would let the beautiful illustrations take us to lands near and far.


....until Sunday night (or maybe Monday morning)...when I realized that I had to complete the reading log and record all of that wonderful reading that we had done! Yikes!  As a teacher I could recognize those "Sunday night journal entries" that were sitting in the hand-in basket.

NOT Wonderful...

Years later I started to question.

What was the purpose of that log?
Was it really making a difference in the reading lives of my students and their families?
What information was I getting from that log?

I really had to make a decision about the value of that log and after looking at those hard questions, I decided to abandon it.  On my assignment sheet I would write "Read with your child for 10 minutes a night".  In reality, those families that were snuggling up to read every night did not need to record it and the families that did not read, were recording but probably not reading anyway.

NOT Wonderful....

I decided to take a new approach. I started sending books home with kids so that they could "borrow" them. As they were returned, I would send more home.  I started helping the children make better choices during their library time and the most important thing I feel I did was to start author studies.

Total immersion in the works of
Mo Willems,
Kevin Henkes,
Rosemary Wells,
Helen Lester
And so many more.

Children started pressuring their parents to go to the library to check out books that I had not found. They also would devour and reread the favorites. I started growing a community of readers who did not need a reading log to read and love pictures and words. So I don't regret getting rid of the reading log and changing my thoughts to do what is best for learners.

Not for one WONDERFUL minute!


  1. Awesome post! I think you're definitely right about the reading logs - they're a formality often forgotten about by those who read and lied about by those who don't. Keep up the great work inspiring young readers!