×
The Power of a Note
Share

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.

Stage A Blog“I wonder if Mila will ever see Shay again,” wrote one student after that day’s reading of Music of Dolphins.  “Why is Mila locked in the room?” she wondered another day.

“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!

Share:
6 Comments
  • I am a 1st Year Read 180 New Generation Teacher. We begain with READ 180 in January 2017.  I printed the Reading Logs and Sentence Starters their folders, On various days, I require students to use Sentence Starters to respond to what is read! We share comments after Independent Reading,

    mancr001

    Scott:  I'm a first year Read 180 teacher at an urban high school.  My frustration has been student motivation and their failure to adhere to routines.   1) I, too, am finding out that the solution to many of the issues in my classroom is explicit instruction and repeated reminders. 2) Re: the Reading Log notes, I was running into the same problem with students writing either a summary of what they read, or a 1-word reaction, such as "cool."   I eventually had my students write A COMPLETE SENTENCE, using one of the following two prompts:  A) "I thought it was important when/how... ",  or, B) I though it was interesting when/how...".   After erading your post, I will add two more prompts: making a perdiction or asking a question. Thanks!  

    mancr001

    Scott:  I'm a first year Read 180 teacher at an urban high school.  My frustration has been student motivation and their failure to adhere to routines.   1) I, too, am finding out that the solution to many of the issues in my classroom is explicit instruction and repeated reminders. 2) Re: the Reading Log notes, I was running into the same problem with students writing either a summary of what they read, or a 1-word reaction, such as "cool."   I eventually had my students write A COMPLETE SENTENCE, using one of the following two prompts:  A) "I thought it was important when/how... ",  or, B) I thought it was interesting when/how...".   After reading your post, I will add two more prompts: making a prediction or asking a question. Thanks!

    mancr001

    Scott:  I'm a first year Read 180 teacher at an urban high school.  My frustration has been student motivation and their failure to adhere to routines. A am also finding out that the solution to many of the issues in my classroom is explicit instruction and repeated reminders. Regarding the Reading Log notes, I was running into the same problem with students writing either a summary of what they read, or a 1-word reaction, such as "cool."   I eventually had my students write A COMPLETE SENTENCE, using one of the following two prompts:  A) "I thought it was important when/how... ",  or, B) I thought it was interesting when/how...".   After reading your post, I will add two more prompts: making a prediction or asking a question. Thanks!

    mancr001

    Scott:  I'm a first year Read 180 teacher at an urban high school.  My frustration has been student motivation and their failure to adhere to routines. I am also finding out that the solution to many of the issues in my classroom is explicit instruction and repeated reminders. Regarding the Reading Log notes, I was running into the same problem with students writing either a summary of what they read, or a 1-word reaction, such as "cool."   I eventually had my students write A COMPLETE SENTENCE, using one of the following two prompts:  A) "I thought it was important when/how... ",  or, B) I thought it was interesting when/how...".   After reading your post, I will add two more prompts: making a prediction or asking a question. Thanks!

    mancr001

    Scott:  I'm a first year Read 180 teacher at an urban high school.  I am also finding out that the solution to many of the issues in my classroom is explicit instruction and repeated reminders. Regarding the Reading Log notes, I was running into the same problem with students writing either a summary of what they read, or a 1-word reaction, such as "cool."   I eventually had my students write A COMPLETE SENTENCE, using one of the following two prompts:  A) "I thought it was important when/how... ",  or, B) I thought it was interesting when/how...".   After reading your post, I will add two more prompts: making a prediction or asking a question.   Thanks!