December 29, 2009

The Reading Record Book, or Why I spent 3 hours at school yesterday on a day off

While there are about a million and a half things I would like to improve on in my teaching, my management, and in the students' learning, one particular thing that I've been struggling with lately is holding the kids accountable for their independent reading.  I think sometimes I just assume all the kids in my class go home in the evenings and curl up with a good book.  HA!  Just because I did that as a child (and still do...) doesn't mean my students do. 

For most of my kids, it's not a challenge getting them to read in school.  They like reading!  But there are a few that I am worried about.  You know, those kids who abandon way more books than they actually finish, who pick out new books but just turn through the pages barely reading, and the ones who read books way below/above their level.  Then there are a few of my good readers who have never ventured out of a particular genre.   Yes, I KNOW you like mysteries, but have you looked in any of the other book bins lately?  I UNDERSTAND you like humor, but let me introduce you to the historical fiction book case... Ultimately, I'd like the kids to all just be held a little more accountable for their reading, and to be aware of what they're reading.  While I've sent home a reading log each week since August, I still only get an average of 5 returned to me.  Sad, but true. 

Enter the Reading Record Book.  Thanks to my friendly Scholastic newsletter emails, I started reading about Beth Newinghams Reading Workshop.  While the workshop itself sounds interesting (...I would NEVER be allowed to use it in my literacy block as long as I'm in this district), what caught my eye was this teacher's Reading Notebook.  Each of her students had a binder that they used to keep track of their reading and respod to the books they read.  Since I'm not using the Workshop, I don't have a use for the response portion, she had downloads of the sheets used for data collection.  They were great!  And, voila!  With a little tweaking and organizing, I created a template for a Reading Record Book that definitely makes sense for me, and that I think will make sense for my students. 

Here's how it goes:  When we get back to school next week, each of my kiddos will be presented with a bound booklet with their name on it.  Inside the front cover is a Genre Overview table listing all the different genres in my classroom library, their definition, and a "code" corresponding with each.  (ex. RF = Realistic Fiction)  Then, there is an Interest Inventory page for students to record some of their favorite authors, genres, and topics.  Ideally, I'd have them fill this out in August, but what can you do. :)  Next, students have a log for them to record books they plan to read and check them off when completed.  I liked this idea, since I love giving/getting book recommendations and I want to encourage the students to be doing this too. 

One very important part of the record book that I'm going to be monitoring is a goal-setting aspect.  I'm going to ask that each student set a personal reading goal for him or herself at the beginning of each month, and reflect on that goal at the end.  Of course, we'll do this together intially at least.  I'm thinking that the goals can be genre-related, simple completion of books, or reading books by a certain author.  I think goal setting is so important to teach, and this seemed like a good place to incorporate it.  So, the kids have a Monthly Goal sheet  in the record book.

The 2 big sections of the book are the monthly reading logs and monthly genre graphs.  The kids will record the books they read in the log, and then at the end of each month, make a simple bar graph so they can look at the genres they've read.  I don't think this will take too much class time, and once I teach them how, it should be a simple end of the month routine.  Then, we will go back and see if we've met the goals.

Of course, since my little darlings are not always the most self-motivated, I will have to throw some incentives in here...first, I'm going to collect the books monthly and give a simple grade based on writing a goal, recording reading, and correctly making a graph.  Then, I'm going to have to give some kind of prize/reward for meeting the monthly goals.  What it will be, I don't know yet, but it better be good to motivate some of my reluctant readers! (or my LAZY little students...yes, I said lazy.  but it's true, if you are not even willing to write down the titles of books you read, I have no sympathy!) 

I am really proud of how the books turned out and have high hopes for them.  I'm sure they will need to be tweaked further, but we'll see how they go!

NOTE: If you would like digital copies of what's in my reading record books, email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT blogspot DOT com :)


  1. I know this was an older post, but I would really like a copy of your reading record book! I tried emailing you but it didn't work. Can you please send a copy to Thank you, Chantal

  2. I would like a copy of your reading record book. do you sell it? Can you email it to me If so, please respnd and I will sen you my email. thank you, Stacy

  3. Hi there, I would really like a copy of your reading record book. Do you sell it?

    1. Hi Stacy, shoot me an email at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT come and I will send you the files for it.


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