I don’t actually remember much at all about the process of learning to read as a child. But I do know that once I could read, once that switch has been flipped in my brain, I was a reader for life and reading has been a much loved treasure to me ever since. As a teacher I loved working with children learning to read. It was so exciting to see them master all of the individual parts of the puzzle and then to watch them come together until suddenly they were in a place where they could read! And now as a mother supporting my own child as she learns to read, it is truly fascinating.
One thing I have found interesting this time around is the fact that we are advised to read to children regularly from birth in order to grow children who love books and reading. I have advocated this myself for many years (you can see my 2009 Growing Kids Who Read post here). But what I had never previously thought about is how a child can fall in love with books and stories, especially listening to stories, and how this might actually make them more reluctant to read to themselves. Learning to read takes time. It takes time to develop accurate decoding skills and fluency, and the learning process can feel strange, overwhelming and frustrating for the beginning reader. They want to read like mummy or daddy reads and they can become frustrated when it takes so I am much time to get to that point. I can understand that struggle after seeing it in my own child. My child who loves and lives for stories and books.
Fortunately in our case, we have turned a corner and as Immy’s decoding skills, fluency and confidence have improved it is clear that she feels a greatest sense of mastery and belief in her own reading ability. To help her see how well she is actually doing with her reading, and to she inspire her to keep at it I developed a Reading Log as a record of the books that she can read independently. On the Reading Log Immy records picture books that she can read – either from home or borrowed from the library. These are in addition to the reading books she also brings home from school that are not recorded on her personal Reading Log. It has been really motivating and encouraging for her to see how many real books she can actually already read. And we are also using the Reading Log to set goals as a way of encouraging her to spend more time reading.
For every 20 books that are added to her list Immy receives a book related surprise. This might be a new book that she has been wanting to read or a trip to the bookshop to choose a book herself. Other reward ideas include everything from a visit to the local library (ours sometimes hosts pj reading parties!), attending a book related event or even going to see a show, exhibition or performance related to a children’s book.
We are planning to make a tower of books with our Reading Log pages – attaching the completed pages to the wall until we reach the ceiling!
You can down load and print your very own reading log pages using the instructions below. I hope it inspires the early reader in your life.
To download and print your poster: Click on the Reading Log image below. This will open a larger PDF version that you can download to your own computer. Once downloaded, open the PDF and print. When printing, select “Fit to printable area” (or similar) to ensure the page fits with your printer type and local paper size (these have been created at A4 size). Please use only for personal, non commercial use (school teachers are fine to use it with their own classes).