The Daily Reading Log can be more than a simple way for students to keep track of their work in the Independent Reading Group. It can be a powerful comprehension tool.
When I first began teaching READ 180, I was often frustrated by the simplistic comments my students were making in the “Notes” section of their Daily Reading Log. I saw comments like “cool” or “boring,” often repeated day after day. I knew this wasn’t helping my students. I knew it was a waste of time. I knew I had to do something about it.
Like so many other issues that arise within the READ 180 classroom, the answer was explicit instruction.
I took a few classes to explain the importance of the student notes.
“It’s teaching you to constantly think while you read,” I told them. “When you are reading, you should be constantly hearing two voices: one that reads the words and one that thinks about what is being read... the actor and the audience. Writing a thoughtful note after you record your ending page is your chance to practice this crucial skill.”
I did a few quick read alouds and demonstrated some examples of appropriate notes... asking questions, making predictions, writing a quick summary sentence.
As they got back to their normal rotations, I monitored the reading group closely. I checked their notes, and had a few students read their notes to the class.
The effect was more than I could hope for. Those disappointing borings and cools were transformed into thoughtful statements.
“Andy wished for his mom to come back,” summarized one of my fifth-graders after jotting down his page for the Magnificent Mummy Maker.
“This kid found out he was going to see a mummy,” wrote his friend about the same book.
Notes like these don’t just make their teacher happy. They also increase key reading skills. As my students’ notes increased in thoughtfulness, I saw dramatic improvements in comprehension scores on the Scholastic Reading Counts quizzes. I also saw increases in the quality of student QuickWrite responses.
Take the time to teach your students how to write a proper note on their Daily Reading Log, you won’t believe the power a simple note can have!