The idea behind our move away from typical reading logs where students keep track of the time read each week came from reading Book Love by Penny Kittle. Kittle has her students track their pages (or rate of reading) instead of time. I left several notes in the margin of the book. Could this work at GMS? What would we have to put in place for students? This is so different from what we've done before...
The last three years we haven't had any reading tracking device in place in 8th grade. We've told students that they are growing older and more mature and that we trust them to read each week outside of class without using a log. Most students welcomed the opportunity to not have a reading log or bookmark - often times they cheered when we made the announcement. For the majority of 8th graders, it was ok and they read outside of class. Others did very little reading outside of class. Several students mentioned in their end of year reflection that they wished we had used reading logs because it held them responsible, and they believed they would have read more. It is a dilemma that has plagued me for years. Enter Book Love.
This year, the 8th grade teachers at GMS decided to have students track their reading rate (pages) each week. We collected data last week- how many pages a student read in 10 minutes over three class periods. The students added their total pages, divided by three and found their page average. In a perfect world, two hours of reading outside of class is considered acceptable. (Although I have no idea where 120 minutes comes from.) Students multiplied their average by 12 and came up with their goal for the week. We recorded goals in the back of our Writer's Notebooks. I even asked students to text their parents in the middle of class (GASP) to let them know what their page goal was.
We have a Google Form imbedded on our Google Classroom for weekly "turn in". The form isn't perfect, and students asked great questions about how to fill it out. Students have to fill in their book title, the page started on and ended on, the total pages read, what their page goal for next week is, and a place to reflect on their reading that week. The data will filter to a Google Sheet, so that the teachers can see quickly how students are progressing each week.
I love that students will be setting a goal each week for their independent reading. I love that each student will see his/her progression and (ideally) a rise in his/her reading rate as the year goes on. I love that each week students get to reflect on their progress and their reading lives.
This is all new to us. I was honest with students and said that there would be bugs and problems that we would work through together. Regardless of the issues we encounter, I am excited to try something new and to explore it with my students.