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If you’re a parent of school age children… you know what a reading log is.
And most likely, your child’s teacher has suggested you either download a reading log template… or provided you with one in your child’s homework folder.
This is usually the case for younger elementary students.
If you aren’t familiar with the reading log template… or are new to the concept… fear not!
I will explain it to you.
Simply put, a reading log template is a student-kept record of books they’ve read over a specific period. It’s generally sorted by date, and keeps them accountable for reading on a regular basis.
Parents are usually required to initial this log daily.
Let’s face it… teachers don’t have enough hours in a working day to teach their students everything they need to learn for the year. So it makes sense that some things would need to be completed at home.
Reading is one of those things.
In fact, reading is typically assigned as homework these days… along with math, science, social studies, etc.
It is very common among students in grades K-4.
I have two children in these lower grades… and two in pre-school.
The reading log comes home nightly, tasking them each to read for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
The younger children are simply tasked with filling in the date and title of the book they read.
The older children are asked to provide the same information… in addition to the book’s author and the amount of time they read.
Students in grades 5-8 may be asked to provide even greater detail, such as:
The thought here is that, as the grows older, he or she should be working on reading retention and comprehension.
And also developing original thoughts and questions based on the text.
That is why you will often see book reports and/or oral presentations at this age (3rd or 4th grade, depending on the school district).
It also prepares them for the standardized tests they will take in high school.
What You Will Learn
- Is the Reading Log Really Necessary? Can’t we just trust our kids to read?
- Extra! Extra! Get Your Free Reading Log Templates Here!
- The Early Elementary Reading Log Template (Grades Pre-K through 1)
- The Elementary Reading Log Template (Grades 2-5)
- The Intermediate/Middle School Reading Log Template (Grades 6-8)
- The Summer Reading Log Template (Just for Kicks)
- The Reward Chart Reading Log Template (Because Some Kids Need a Little Push)
- The Most Simplistic Reading Log for Grades K-2
- The Best Overall Reading Log for Older Kids
- The Bottom Line on Reading Log Templates
Is the Reading Log Really Necessary? Can’t we just trust our kids to read?
Sadly, the answer to that is a big “no!”.
Unless you have one of those children that love to read, like my oldest daughter (hooray!)… reading is often seen as a chore.
Something you do when the power goes out… or your tablet dies.
Today’s children are inundated with technology.
There is no escaping it.
And while that can be a wonderful thing… it is often the one thing standing in the way of raising a society of children with imaginations. Children are capable of originality.
I mean, most of the greatest books of all time have been made into movies.
Creativity is dead, people! Let’s take a moment of silence.
So if a child can read the 1,000-page book… or simply download the 2-hour film version… which do you think they will choose?
9 times out of 10, they will choose the movie.
The English major in me is dying a little bit each day.
Our kids will be ok.
But they do need to read.
They need to appreciate the feeling of turning pages in their fingers.
They need to develop their own picture of what is going on in the story.
They need to think outside the box.
And they most likely won’t do this unless they are being forced to.
Unless their grade depends on it.
Enter the reading log template.
Extra! Extra! Get Your Free Reading Log Templates Here!
As I said, there is a good chance your child’s teacher will provide a reading log template to them… or else a link to follow to find one on their own.
But because I’m so nice… I’ve gone ahead and created some of my own.
They will be grouped into the following areas:
- Early Elementary
- Intermediate/Middle School
- Summer Reading
- Reward Charts
Yes, reward charts.
Kids like to feel as if they are working towards something tangible.
And, a little bribery never hurt anyone.
It’s Parenting 101, people.
Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little from your kids.
And it’s ok.
The Early Elementary Reading Log Template (Grades Pre-K through 1)
Want a copy of The Early Elementary Reading Log Template? Click the button below to download the PDF!
The point of these logs is to keep it simple.
Children not only have a short attention span at this age… but each one’s ability to spell, read and write varies so widely from one to the next in a classroom.
One child, for instance, may still be having trouble writing their name… while another can write short sentences.
And an educator cannot single students out… or provide individualized templates… so it’s best to keep it simple for both the child and parent.
Simplified Reading Log Templates include:
- Title of Book
The Elementary Reading Log Template (Grades 2-5)
Want a copy of The Elementary Reading Log Template? Click the button below to download the PDF!
While they are not reading Tolstoy just yet, most children this age are being introduced to chapter books.
Chapter books vary in length and difficulty.
In fact, many districts nowadays will assign students with a color-coded reading level, based on the “Accelerated Reader” model.
The idea behind the model is to steer young readers towards books they can read successfully on their own.
Getting them to read independently is the goal… by eliminating the frustration and embarrassment that comes from forcing them to read something that is above their particular skill level.
And the hope is to foster a love of reading from a young age.
That being said, the reading log templates for this age should include a bit more detail:
- Title of Book
- Amount of Time Read
The Intermediate/Middle School Reading Log Template (Grades 6-8)
Want a copy of The Intermediate/Middle School Reading Log Template? Click the button below to download the PDF!
By the time students reach these grade levels, most are expected to be reading like “young adults”.
Some popular books include:
I remember being asked to read some of these in high school.
Some I haven’t even read.
And I’m 40…
Plus a few.
While the list may appear daunting for a child age 11-14, the times they are a changin’.
We live in a very different world now..
One where it’s important to not only teach our children the literature of the past… but also introduce them to the culturally relevant literature of today.
And in doing so, we need to make sure they fully understand what they are reading.
The best way to do that is to open a discussion.
And the best way to start a discussion is to have them take notes… pose questions.
The expanded reading logs at this age should reflect that with:
- Title of Book
- Amount of Time Read
- Total Pages Read
- Comments/Notes Section
- Questions Section
The Summer Reading Log Template (Just for Kicks)
Want a copy of The Summer Reading Log Template? Click the button below to download the PDF!
As much as they’d probably enjoy it… your kids should not be allowed to sit around all summer long playing video games, watching tv, and letting their laundry pile up for a week.
Kids still need to keep busy.
They need to stay active.
They need to keep their brains sharp.
Whether it’s maintaining your kids' normal chores, signing up for a camp (or two), getting a summer job, or joining a reading club at their local library.
There is more to summer than just lazy days filled with fireflies and ice cream.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
It sounds lovely, actually!
But kids need to keep up some semblance of a routine during summer vacation… or else they run the risk of having a hard time adjusting when it’s time to go back to school.
The alarm clock.
The rushed breakfasts.
The packed lunch.
Oh, the homework!
It only gets worse as they get older.
And in some way, not just for them… but for you.
I mean, what 2nd grader really builds their own diorama?
What 14-year-old drives themselves to the library to research the turmoil in Afghanistan for a group history project?
The structure is good for kids.
And keeping it up, to some degree, over the summer will benefit them… and you!
So, why not a summer reading log template?
This can be light.
Offer bonus incentives.
Sky’s the limit.
Hint: if you already have their reading list for the next school year… you may want to incorporate some of those books.
But that, my friend, is your call.
You’ll know if your child is behind, ahead, or on par with where they should be.
Make summer reading fun, not a chore!
The Reward Chart Reading Log Template (Because Some Kids Need a Little Push)
Want a copy of The Reward Chart Reading Log Template? Click the button below to download the PDF!
Let’s be honest…
Some kids aren’t as motivated or cooperative as others when it comes to reading… or homework in general.
They have other things on their mind.
For these kids, the last thing they want to do is anything resembling schoolwork on their summer vacation.
But you’re not there to be their friend.
You’re not trying to win any popularity contest.
You’re their parent…
And you are expected to give them the push they need to succeed in life.
Lucky for you… reward chart reading log templates can work wonders!
Rewards can include:
Again, be creative.
Do what works for you and your child.
Then, decide on the rewards structure.
There are multiple types to choose from:
Choose the incentive that your child will be most interested in… then, together, come up with a timeline and prize.
For instance, your child may prefer to earn smaller rewards weekly.
Whereas another child may prefer to work towards one or two larger rewards… even if it takes a bit longer.
The last two templates will feature reading logs from outside resources, which I found to be useful and worthy of mention. Plus, it’s nice to have options!
Kids this age still love coloring and crafts. So I like two reading logs for this category, as the child’s maturity and personality will dictate which they prefer to use. Who knows? Maybe it’s both!
The first is from Mrs. Teachergarten. There’s no need to click on the image, just hit Control P and print it out. It features a boy and girl above blank books. The directions are straightforward… simply have your child color one book each time they read with or to someone.
The second is from Digital Hygge. The site features tons of free printables, so you and your child can choose which best suits them! There are unicorns, princesses, pirates, sports-themed printables… and many more!
I went with the hedgehog because my 7-year-old son loves them! Similar to the printable from Mrs. Teachergarten, children simply need to color one book in the stack for everyone that they read. You can download the printable to your computer, or just print it.
I personally like the idea of printing multiple pages with different themes, so that your child becomes excited to get to the “next level”. For instance, when my son finishes hedgehog, he’ll get to color the pirate level!
These logs make reading fun and are as easy as it gets when it comes to keeping tabs on their progress.
Even though your older child may act or desire to be grown-up, they likely still have some sense of wonder and imagination. They may even enjoy reading or pride themselves on being storytellers in their own right.
This is why I like this reading log from Brightly. It is more whimsical than other reading logs, catering to their inner child. In fact, they’ll likely pick up on the reference to Alice in Wonderland in the bottom corner.
A reading log doesn't have to be all about business, yet the blank lines make it customizable to fit whatever is required of them to track. For example, you can easily fit the title and minutes read into one line. Your child can also write their name in the center of the page.
As a follow-up to this, especially when it comes to middle and high school-age students, I like the incorporation of a reading response chart. It is designed to foster reading comprehension and encourage original thoughts.
If I am being honest, most of these questions can even apply to younger readers with a parent's help. I know that my second grader is already being asked to answer questions about what he is reading. This is a valuable skill to teach sooner than later, as it will help them become stronger readers and better students.
The Bottom Line on Reading Log Templates
When utilizing a reading log template with your child, you need to keep in mind a few things:
- The age of the child
- The reading level of the child
- The child’s level of independence (whether or not they can fill out the chart by themselves)
- The personality of the child
Using these factors as a guide, you will be able to print out the chart that works best for them.
Conversely, if a generic chart is already provided to you by the child’s teacher and it doesn’t seem to be working for them… don’t be afraid to question if there are other options to meet your particular child’s needs.
Even have your own suggestions handy.
No educator wants a to make a reading log template torture for a child… or for you.
And most will happily agree to let you find one that suits your child’s style.
In all honesty, they probably welcome constructive suggestions from parents… as it makes their job just a little bit easier.
It’s no easy task to address so many different learning abilities and styles in one classroom.
Involved parents can play a vital role in a teacher’s mission… which is to further the education of every child so that they succeed.
In the end, that is what we all want.
So take the initiative.
Research your reading log templates.
Get excited about them with your child.
Perhaps even start one of your own for your books?
Just be sure to never leave them with the impression that reading is a chore… but instead treat it as the key to opening so many doors in their life.
They will thank you for it.
Maybe not today.
Maybe not tomorrow.
But they will.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications, and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization, and product reviews.