The Importance of Reading Logs in Children’s Development

Reading logs are a great way to support your child’s reading journey! As they are developing reading skills and engaging more in the habit of picking up a book, it’s a good idea to positively reinforce their efforts. A reading log is a visual representation of these efforts. With all the different stimuli that pull them in different directions throughout their day, it’s a good idea to give them a place to track their progress. Seeing their own progress is a reward in itself!

There is a lot of research in this field and the conclusion of all of them is that people spend less time reading, that children don’t read nearly as much as they should, that reading comprehension skills are declining and that this will have serious implications in all walks of life. Seems like nothing new right? But then you come across some data like this one:

According to a National Endowment for the Arts research called To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence which is based on data from a series of large, national surveys “Teens and young adults read less often and for shorter amounts of time when compared with other age groups and with Americans of the past.”

This makes you think that the decline is far more real because our parents did not have tablets and streaming services that are inherently designed to keep you in the passive mode of consumption of whatever it is you are watching.

According to another study most leisure time is now spent in front of a screen. This one is from US Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/TUS/CHARTS/LEISURE.HTM).

How do we as parents deal with this? How do we create a structure for our kids and change this pattern? There is a lot of research on this as well and we talked a bout this a lot and we believe that the only way to counter the impact of screen based entertainment is to introduce books and create a value out of books/story based entertainment.

A habit of reading for pleasure starts from early childhood and is probably the only way to escape long screen times and reading logs are just one of the tools parents have to help in raising a reader.

How Reading Logs Enhance Learning

Making these logs visible alongside sibling or friends’ logs can encourage a sense of camaraderie and competitiveness. Instead of letting reading become an isolated activity, engaging with them as they track their progress will encourage conversation between parents and children and maybe even their peers.

Tracking the books that they have read allows the child to see their own reading and comprehension improvements. Logging progress can be used as a way of providing positive reinforcement for children who are struggling with reading comprehension or other difficulties. You can get their feedback on what they are reading. You can eventually find patterns in what they enjoy and what they don’t enjoy - whether it’s a type of book, style of writing, style of illustration, length of book, characters, or even genre and subject matter. This helps in future selections of books, and also can predict possible comprehension issues that could come up in school reading. Respecting and allowing them to voice their personal opinions and choices is an important part of their overall sense of self-worth as well! At the end of the day, even though some of these steps may seem tedious, they can be a positive influence on the child for years to come! What’s important is to make sure that the reading log is not something mandatory that the children need to do. There are a lot of research studies about this as well when’re mandatory reading logs impact negatively interest in reading. For example when schools started using reading logs as mandatory tools to track reading of students the overall interest of students in reading decreased. So you have to be careful not to make a tool that can be useful to become something that defeats the purpose. According to another research The Effect of Mandatory Reading Logs on Children’s Motivation to Read “students in the mandatory log condition reported more negative attitudes toward recreational reading while the students who were simply encouraged to read reported more positive attitudes”. So the key here is to constantly encourage your kid and use the reading log if they feel that there is a need for structure

Here are a few different items to consider for a reading log:

  1. Title and Author

  2. Date Started

  3. Page Progress

  4. Time Spent Reading

  5. Rating (Likeability)

  6. Rating (Readability)

  7. Any Thoughts or Feedback on the book

  8. Reward for Progress - like a star or sticker or something similar.

The older the child, the more detailed you can get. The more personalized a reading log can be, the more it encourages ownership and sense of pride in the child about their reading journey. We have created a PDF reading log for younger children where these details are not that crucial. You can download the reading log here.

How Parents can Encourage Kids to Read

Of course, the first step is to make sure that your kids are reading! Find out what they like to read and find a book that matches their interests. You can look for book lists based on the title(s) or genre your child likes. You can also talk to your local librarian or you can sign up for our book subscription service and we’d be happy to send curated books your way.

Another interesting tool is making reading a family activity. Especially when your children are younger they will enjoy the extra attention and time spent reading together would be one of the best memories of their childhood for years to come.

Some parents saw success by encouraging their children to read by keeping a reading log or chart in the house and rewarding children with points for every chapter or book they read.

What works for one child might not be ideal for another, what’s important is that the process of encouraging children to read, surrounding them with books, creating an appropriate environment, engaging them when and after they read, keeping new titles coming. Check out some of our blog posts for more tips. All of these will help you raise a reader. Additionally, sign up and we’d be happy to send you a book box to help you along the way!