Ditching the Reading Log

One thing that I have changed up in my classroom this year is the use of a reading log for nightly homework.  While I still require my students to read for 30 minutes a night, I am not asking them to fill in a reading log anymore.

I know...there was just a huge cry of "But HOW do you keep them ACCOUNTABLE???!!!"  I could hear it through my computer ;)

I too had a bit of that same cry.  I mean, I know that just because my students fill out a reading log doesn't mean they are reading and I wanted to do something that was showing me they were actually reading, but on the other hand, what was I going to do???  So today, I thought I would share with you some things I am doing in my room right now that have helped me to keep track of the kids' reading without assigning a reading log.

Reading Conferences

For the first time, I have begun to hold reading conferences with the students.  It sounds very complicated and overwhelming -- reading conferences -- but really, all I am doing is calling the students for a 3 minute talk about the book they are reading.  Here is how it works:

When I have a few minutes here or there, I call over one of my students.  I ask him to tell me the title of the book he is reading and to recall some of the important parts of what was read.  You should see the kids light up when I ask them to tell me about their book!  They just LOVE it!  I mean, I love talking about what I am reading too, so I totally get it.  They just really liked telling me what was happening in the story.

What was great about this is that the kids who weren't reading really stood out to me.  They were hemming and hawwing over the books, had trouble naming even one they read, and just had nothing to say.  But I know those are the same kids that would have filled in a reading log anyway...they just faked it.  It was harder to fake when I was talking to them.

I then asked the students to tell me what types of books they typically gravitate towards.  Would they like to pick up a fiction book?  Mystery?  Nonfiction about sports?  What do they like?  This will help me later when recommending books for the kids.

I recorded all of the information on this sheet here.  It is very simple, but serves its purpose.


This summer I was introduced to a new form of technology called Padlet.  Basically, it is a bulletin board that the students can post on to record their thoughts on any matter of subject.   So once a week, for a total of 15 minutes, I have been doing what I call "Book Brag Padlet".

Padlet and book recommendationsI give my students the Padlet link and access password, and they are faced with a blank bulletin board.  At the top, I have a reading response prompt.  So far, I have done three with my class.  The first was a regular "brag".  The students had to tell me about their book and convince me to read it.  The second one asked the students to discuss the setting of their book (since we are using the Setting in 5 Days lessons right now, it fit perfectly)  and the last was to tell me an "Aha Moment" in their story as well (since all of my kids, coincidentally, are reading fiction books....AND we are using the Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading strategies)

What I love about this is that the kids are so invested in using the platform.  They are just pulled in.  They really like seeing each other typing at the same time and reading about each other's books.  They are learning about not just their own setting, but the setting in 33 other books.  I also love that I can instantly tell if someone is reading or not.  They are writing "on the spot" and that is very hard to do if you have nothing to write about because you aren't reading anything.

Currently Reading Book Cards

Great way to keep track of who is reading what in class.
Finally, in my classroom library, I have a pocket chart with laminated cards for the students to write the title of the book they are currently reading on.  Using a vis-a-vie marker, the students write their reading book and display them.

If they ever feel the need to talk to me about the book, they can move their card to the "Let's talk about my book" section and I will immediately call a conference with the student (of course I will also talk about books in passing with the students but this is a bit more formal of a discussion....actual time set aside.)

Once the students have finished the book they are reading, they will erase the title from their card and fill in a book spine to add to our classroom "bookshelf" (which you can read about more in detail here.)

So that is about it for now.  So far, I am loving what is happening in my room surrounding reading.  It is becoming very important to the kids and they are still being held accountable...even without a nightly homework reading log.

What is one thing you have done to get away from reading logs but still hold your students accountable for their nightly reading?


  1. Yes, I would like to see the conference sheet as well.

  2. Love these ideas! I could not get the link to work for the record sheet. I am interested in doing this when I move to 1st grade next year.

  3. What template did you use with the padlet? I am looking at that,and I can see how students would like this!


Please leave a comment! I love to hear what you think about what is posted :)