Reading logs are a tricky thing! I get it! Continuously charting pages and book titles, and gathering signatures is just not a method that encourages and instills a love of reading. I understand that we want to keep students accountable for what they are reading, but what good is jotting down page numbers and asking a parent for a signature? Furthermore, what is the consequence for the kid that shows up with a blank reading log? While we want our middle school students to be readers, I struggle to see how reading logs encourage reading.
I have a number of friends that are readers. As I type those words, it seems a funny statement to make. My point is that I am surrounded by individuals that love to read, and we are often chatting about the books we are reading. I love being around these individuals because we can talk books! These book talks that I have with my friends on a consistent basis is the inspiration for how I want my students to share about books in my classroom.
While I conference with students to “talk books” on a daily basis, I am trying a new strategy this year with my middle school readers to get even more conversations taking place about the amazing reads my students are navigating. My work as a middle school ELA teacher is that my students LOVE reading because they are:
- Reading books they don’t want to put down.
- Reading books with characters they can both learn from and connect to.
- Reading books that they can’t wait to talk about with a peer or peer group.
While I won’t be giving my students a paper reading log, my goal is to generate an interactive “photo book” reading log for each of my students.
Here is my plan…
My classroom bulletin board is currently unfinished because my students have yet to arrive. I have created this #CurrentlyReading bulletin board display, so that I can capture my students reading on our very first days together and throughout the entire year.
If you’re interested in creating your own bulletin board like this, use this link below for a PDF download of the letters I used: #currently reading display!
The purpose behind this idea is three-fold. First, my middle schoolers love seeing pictures of themselves and each other. This display allows for us to see all of the students that generate our classroom community. Second, my students get to see what their peers are reading. I find that my students tend to make the best recommendations of books for one another. By seeing the books that are in their peers’ hands, students have the opportunity to inquire about books with one another to decide if it is interesting and worth reading. Finally, as students read various books, they will generate a “photo book” of all of the books they have read throughout the year. This “photo book” can be hole-punched and bound with a book ring, so that students can see the variety of books they have read during the course of the school year.
Take a peek at how this will work…
Step #1: I will snap a picture of each student each time they read a new book.
Step #2: I will quickly print the pics using my Walgreens app.
Step #3: Student pictures will be updated and displayed on our classroom bulletin board each week.
Step #4: When a student completes a book they can complete the #justfinished mini-organizer and tape it to the back of their picture.
Step #5: As students complete books, I will hole-punch and attach a book ring for students to view.
Step #6: #currentlyreading bulletin board will become an interactive space where students can observe and look for suggestions for what to read next.
This is my creative strategy for encouraging more classroom conversation that focuses on books. All the best as you tackle this school year.