Pernille Ripp’s recent revisit on reading logs reminded me about a conversation I recently had with my 8 year-old. She watched me sign the reading log like I always do: scribbling 20 minutes for each day all at once and adding my signature.
Her: “Is that cheating?”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Her: “Like, we don’t write down exactly how many minutes I read each day.”
Me: “No, it’s not cheating. You read at least this much every week.”
This was the end of my rushed explanation that morning, but I knew it wouldn’t satisfy her for long. Sure enough, the next time I went to sign, she inquired again. This time, I turned it back to her:
Me: “Right now, you love to read. We read during breakfast, at bedtime, and lots in between. How do you think it would effect how you feel about reading if we were always tracking every minute you read? If I was always asking whether you’d gotten up to 20 yet? If I was always telling you to set a timer and write it down?”
Her: “I don’t think I would enjoy that. I just want to read!”
She just wants to read. And I don’t want to get in the way of that!
We further discussed how in the rare event that she does read fewer than 20 minutes in a day, it is not worth discouraging her overall love of reading. She now understands that my scribbled 20 minutes a day actually is, in fact, about maximizing her reading — both the quantity and the quality of her time spent.
At this point, some teachers might be thinking, “Well, that works fine if they actually read. What if they don’t?” To this, I would definitely recommend reading Pernille’s post to which I linked at the top — she has a great list of accountability strategies that help her know whether her kids are reading.
I myself used to think that reading logs were a great way to remind kids to read at home. Now I know that they can create obstacles that stand in the way of reading itself. I’m grateful for the lesson, and hope it will help me more thoroughly assess future strategies.
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto
2 Replies to “In Which the 8 Year-Old Questions My Reading Log Ethics #TeacherMom”
I was supposed to sign off last year (second grade) that my daughter was reading 20 minutes a day. On the very first day she read for exactly 20 minutes and then stopped (“Done!”), whereas previously she would have just kept reading. My heart just stuttered in my chest. What I did was talk to her teacher (who was also a friend) and we agreed that as long as she was reading that much overall (which she clearly was), we would ignore that 20 minute requirement. A year later, she is a reading machine! And this year’s teacher has no reading log :-).
The idea that it becomes this finite assignment really kills me, too! Talking with the teacher is definitely a great strategy–glad you don’t need to worry about it at all this year!