Each day, students in the Independent Reading Group are asked to fill out a reading log before and after they read. They record the date, the page they are starting on and, at the "two-minute warning" what page they have finished. While these steps are important to help our students keep track of where they are, it is the final step, the "Note," that can have a real impact on their reading progress.
Left to their own devices, many students will neglect this important step. Often, we will see responses like "cool" or "boring" repeated. Or, we'll see no notes at all. I believe this usually happens because the students don't know why they are being asked to write the note. They don't see its value, so they don't put the effort in.
WHAT SOME STUDENTS THINK:
"The note is a waste of time. It's just a cheesy way for the teacher to make sure we're actually reading. I'll just put down anything so it looks like I'm doing it. Eventually, my teacher will stop checking it and I can just stop writing them."
WHAT I TELL THEM:
"When we read, it is not enough to just read the words. Reading, true reading, is a system of two voices: one that reads the words and one that thinks about what is being read."
"In READ 180, we are constantly trying to get our brains to do both. That's why I stop all the time and talk about what we've read in our Whole and Small Groups. That's why the audiobooks have coaches that read the book along with the narrator, and that's why I ask you to write a thoughtful note every day."
"By writing a thoughtful sentence every day, I am training my brain to think about what I've read. Over time, it will become more natural and I'll start to think about what I'm reading without even trying to. The better notes I write, the better that second voice will get, and the better I'll be at reading!"
Provide your students with a list of sentence starters that they can use to vary the notes they write (see image below). These can be made into bookmarks, or copied onto the back of each reading log.
FOR MORE ON THIS TOPIC, check out this previous blog: https://educatorcommunity.hmhco.com/site/stage-a/blog/stage-a/the-power-of-a-note