Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Evidence of Reading

   Do you use reading logs in your classroom or for homework?  We began implementing them as a grade level team for homework.  We gave each student a large blank clock to color in the number of minutes that each child spent per week, reading.  For every ten hours, I added a stripe to our "Cat in the Hat' hat on a bulletin board.  I have no idea why but you would have thought I bought these kiddos a car.  They loved it!  Every time a stripe was added they would cheer.  They were dying to get the stripes all the way up to the top of the bulletin board and across the ceiling.  Even the parents commented on how invested in reading their children had become.  It made me think that I should continue with reading logs in class too!

    Currently, I use the Daily 5 reading model in my classroom but my district is shifting towards Balanced Literacy.  One of the things I always struggle with is how to keep the kiddos invested in reading.  You know how it goes- ten minutes in to reading someone has to go to the bathroom, someone needs to sharpen their pencil, someone has an earth shattering story they have to tell their friend right then and there.  Over and over I remind them that it is a quiet reading time.  And yes, we practice building stamina and all that but the reality remains-these kids are so young.  It's hard for them to read for longer periods of time.  They need something highly motivational.  One day while driving to the grocery store of all places, I came up with this idea  

 Kids love being detectives so why not play off that theme? I worked it through in my mind, sat down on my computer and created the Reading Detective Case File. Now I just needed some kind of award.  I found these at the Dollar Tree Store. 36 awards for $1.  What a bargain!

      I probably don't have to tell you what these kiddos will do to get one of these.'s like the Oprah episode "Everybody gets a car.  You get a car, you get a car, you get a car."  All I do is write "Reading Detective" in the center and wholla! I'm still amazed by how motivational stickers and awards are for young children. This is why I don't teach the secondary grades.  That, and because I like being told I'm the best singer, the best artist, the most beautiful and on and on everyday.  I mean, let's be real here.  :)

Here's how the detective reading log works.  The kiddos each receive a 2 pocket folder which we call their "case file" for storing their logs.  After adding labels to the folder, they write the titles of the books they read and also rate the book like this:

Next, they fingerprint on the "evidence page" every time they read a book.

    After 10 fingerprints, they earn a badge or ribbon. I think this year I may purchase some badges from Oriental Trading Company.  I leave the stamp pads and extra forms accessible so the kiddos don't bother interrupt me when I am reading in small groups with other students.

    We keep our "case files" looking like this:

   I have them keep the case files in their book boxes and then take them home at the end of the year just because I don't want them to lose them at home.  Not that THAT would ever happen!  Ahem.

Do you maintain reading logs?  How do you use reading logs in your classroom?

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