Guest blog post by Shaelynn Farnsworth
Let’s face it, reading logs are typically not accurate in time read or books finished. From forged signatures to parents exaggerating the time their student spends in a book, reading logs do very little to motivate students or to instill a love of books. If the purpose of reading logs is to create habitual readers why do they continually fail both students and teachers? What alternatives to tracking pages or time offer more value and choice to readers?
6 Alternatives to Reading Logs
Have students share what they read on social media. Using Snapchat, Instagram, or even a class feed in Seesaw or Google Classroom, students can snap pictures and annotate as they read. This can be scaffolded with daily prompts or independent where students share what they want in each post. Go Global by sharing on twitter using the hashtag #BookSnaps
2. Book Blogs
Book blogs provide students a social experience of sharing what they read with a global audience. Replacing the traditional reading journal with a digital one, Book Blogs are the contemporary alternative and help to promote both reading and writing.
Along with Book Blogs, students can create Vlogs sharing what they read. Through short videos, a student’s demonstration of understanding and progress is clearly illustrated.
4. PCI (Passage, Connection, Illustration)
As adults, when we read something that we enjoy we talk about it. Make reading social again by utilizing Literature/Book Discussions. Help them prepare by using the PCI strategy. Passage – Choose a powerful passage from your book that caught your attention, moved you, or made you wonder. Connection – How did you personally connect to the text? What did it remind you of? Are there any other books you have read that are similar to this one? Tell stories. Illustration – Draw or create a picture or infographic that represents this book.
5. Give Me 5
Give Me 5 is a simple strategy where students choose 5 quotes from the book that best illustrate the author’s message, insight into a character, or conceptual understanding. These quotes almost always lead to excellent reflection and discussion in the classroom.
6. Concept Mapping
Concept mapping is an opportunity for students to make their thinking visible. It allows readers to connect characters and events to larger concepts by synthesizing, evaluating, and organizing their thoughts. Concept mapping moves students past surface-level comprehension to digging deeply into text.
While none of the above alternatives track minutes spent reading all of them align to the reason many educators use reading logs in the first place. Focus on the why instead of the how of instruction. Lifelong readers are not made by minute tracking; lifelong readers are cultivated through social experiences with the stories they read!
Shaelynn is an expert in reading and writing strategies. Specifically how to effectively integrate technology into reading and writing strategies. See more of her ideas on her blog: shaelynnfarnsworth.com. Bring Shaelynn out to your school for professional development. Contact her at email@example.com.
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