Today I have three posts that are about nurturing and maintaining a love of reading in kids. The first post, from Pernille Ripp, offers suggestions for parents, with emphasis on counteracting negative practices that schools may impose that threaten the joy of reading. The other two posts, from Erica Reischer and Monica Edinger, both focus on reading logs. The first post discusses why reading logs can sap kids' motivation for reading, while the second, from a long-time teacher, offers a better alternative. These are all articles that I expect to refer back to in the future.
For all parents who want their kids to be readers: A Parent’s Role in Protecting the Love of #Reading http://ow.ly/xSu9300YZe0 @pernilleripp
Pernille Ripp: "Thea (her daughter) is lucky. She has been in a school where they value creating reading experiences above everything else. Where they work with each child at their level and try to keep reading magical. Where each child is given time to read self-chosen books, receive one-to-one or small group instruction, and the emphasis is on reading for fun, not reading for requirement or prizes. As a school, they have said no to so many things we know can harm the love of reading.
Our role as parents has been to uphold the expectations they have created; reading for fun, reading as a natural part of our day, reading as something that becomes part of the conversations we have every day. We have gladly embraced it. We have not had to protect our daughter’s burgeoning love of reading from some of the practices such as reading logs, reading for rewards, AR, or forced daily reading reflections we see around schools, but what if we did? What can we do then?"
Me: Pernille Ripp offers concrete suggestions for how parents can protect their kids from having the joy of reading sucked out of them from poor choices by schools. I am very, very interested in this topic. My daughter made it through Kindergarten just fine, and I was pleased to see classroom libraries in all of the first grade classrooms that we visited at a recent Open House. But I've also seen a fairly strong emphasis on Accelerated Reader points at this school, and I'm preemptively concerned about that. So I'll be saving Pernille's practical, thorough recommendations for future reference. This post is a must read for any parent who is concerned about raising kids who enjoy reading.
Important: How #ReadingLogs Can Ruin Kids' Pleasure for Books @DrEricaR http://ow.ly/PfR8300V7Bu @TheAtlantic #JoyOfLearning
Erica Reischer: "As a psychologist (and a parent), I have long opposed reading logs because of abundant research on the negative effects of external controls (such as rewards, deadlines, and assigned goals) on intrinsic motivation. In other words, when motivation to do an activity comes from outside, via rewards or mandates, it tends to undermine people’s interest in doing that activity for its own sake. This decline in motivation ultimately affects enjoyment, creativity, and even performance.
This research would suggest that reading logs have a similar effect on children’s reading habits, especially their desire to read for fun, making reading less of a pleasure and more of a chore. Imagine telling your child that she must draw pictures for at least 20 minutes daily—and also record how much time she spent drawing and how many different colors she used...
[On a recent study to specifically address reading logs and enjoyment] Students assigned the mandatory log showed diminished interest in recreational reading and also more negative attitudes toward reading after the study concluded. In contrast, the voluntary group showed an increase in both interest and positive attitudes. Although this study wasn’t exhaustive, it suggests that reading logs may undermine their intended goals."
Me: My daughter ended up having a positive experience with the very low key reading logs that she had this year in Kindergarten. All we had to do was list the books that we read to her, with a goal of 30 per month. I don't know what would have happened had we not reached that target, but this was not an issue for us. I found having a list of the books we had read useful, and my daughter enjoyed keeping track of the number each month. But I will certainly have an eagle eye out if we have more onerous logs next year.
I think that making kids certify to having read for a certain amount of time every day or making them write about each book could certainly diminish the joy of reading. I mean, I've found that for myself. If I pressure myself to review everything I read, which I have done at certain periods of blogging, I end up resentful, and not wanting to read. I've also found that our reading is sporadic. One day, when my daughter wasn't feeling well, we read her 30 picture books. This past weekend, when we had guests and a plethora of activities, we read only a single book. And that's ok. It all balances out. I do think that I would be tempted by Pernille's suggestion (see above) to just lie, if we were under pressure to certify that we had read for 20 minutes every single day. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
In the Classroom: The Problem with #ReadingLogs and What I Did About It http://ow.ly/Fg8w300Z4lK @medinger shares a positive solution
Monica Edinger: [After questioning the effects of reading logs for years, Monica recently eliminated them.] "What I did instead was have each child create and maintain a Book of Books (aka BoB), based on Pamela Paul’s, a journal of every book she read starting in high school. I thought it such a cool idea I wanted my kids to do that too. Not for accountability to ME, but for themselves. Additionally, I created a weekly BoB period where the children read, updated their BoBs, and met with me. At these meetings we chatted about what they had been reading and what they might read next. It was lovely. It was relaxing. It gave the information I needed about their independent reading. It gave me a space to check in with all my students. It did not single out the weaker readers. They all loved it as did I."
Me: This post made me heave a sigh of relief. Yes, encourage kids to read, encourage them to keep track of the books that they've read, use that list as a jumping off place for discussions and recommendations. But don't let bookkeeping and arbitrary limits kill the joy of reading. I wish that teachers everywhere could see this post! I also much appreciated Monica's perspective as a long-time teacher. She shares how early reading logs were an improvement in that kids could choose what to read, vs. the days of reading basal readers at home. This improved my understanding of how something with good intentions regarding kids and reading could go awry.
© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This post may contain affiliate links.