Goal setting is really hard. It requires you to reflect on what you want, how you’re doing, and what you need to do to get the next step. This is hard to do for any age but especially children. With this lesson I teach students the first step of gaining information in order for them to assess their growth and make plans for improvement.
I introduce this lesson by asking the students if they know how much they read a day or how many pages. Many students can tell me if they read a lot or if they don’t really read at all. However, students associate good reading with how much time they spend reading and if they are reading a “hard” book.
I explain to students that it is my goal for them to grow at least a year’s worth by the end of 4th grade. I explain that in order to plan for helping them reach that goal, I need to know more about what they are doing now. I also explain to them that they will also have a chance to review what their habits are and make choices for how they are going to grow in reading.
I then introduce the reading log. I show the reading log and tell them that research shows that one of the best ways of becoming a better reader is to read book at a “feel good” or “just-right” level that is not too easy or too hard for at least 30 minutes a day. The more they read those types of books, the better they will become in reading. Of course, I will also teach them some specific skills as well. This reading log will help us figure out if we are doing that or not.
I put the reading log under the document camera and explain each part. For now, there is the date, the title of their book, the author, pages read and time spent reading. I show them a recent book read in class and show them where to find each piece of information and then I write it down on the reading log.
After, I show them how to do it, I ask them to guide me through it. I show them another recent book and call on students to show me where the information is and then to write it down for the class.
Students ask questions for clarification before they read independently. I answer any questions they have then send them to their seat with their reading log.
I direct students to fill out their reading log and then I walk around the room, checking in with every student to make sure they filled it out correctly. It is also a chance for me to see what books they are reading.
They are expected to record information accurately because in the share, they will get their first opportunity to look at the data and begin to interpret the information in a way that may help them improve their reading.
When reading time has finished, I ask students to keep their reading logs out but put everything else away. I then ask students to share with a neighbor, or their reading partner, or I might make it an all class share to talk about how many pages they read in that amount of time. I take this time to talk about how books are all different so its important to pay attention to how small the words are in the books they reading because that may affect the total number of pages read. I then tell them where I would like them to store the reading log.