Something I’ve struggled with since our first year homeschooling is trying to adequately document our progress for the subjects that don’t follow a formal schedule. In my quest to get this area of our homeschool organized I started scouring pinterest for ideas (I am not a fan of reinventing the wheel), but most of what I was finding was better suited for a classroom, or wasn’t asking the type of questions that I was asking of my children. Finally, one evening I made a list of what I wanted recorded and created book logs and reading journals for my children.
My children read a lot of books, but we weren’t keeping track of their reading and we don’t follow a specific reading or comprehension curriculum for the children who are already reading independently. We use the complete program from Tracey Tutor when starting reading instruction, which covers phonics, reading, spelling, early grammar and comprehension. I needed a bridge for my children that had built their reading foundation but were not yet at the age for writing formal papers.
I will admit, I can NOT resist the Back-to-School supply sales. Composition notebooks get me every time. I’m left-handed, and so are two of my sons, so I almost never use spiral notebooks. I have built quite a stash of composition books, lined and quad-grid, for my lettering and Bible journaling.
I grabbed one of the lined versions to create a book log and reading journal for the children. I knew I wanted them to have a calendar for them to record their daily reading minutes, a place to list the titles and authors of the books as well as record the days it took to complete the book. I also wanted some space for them to record their thoughts before reading the book, a place to record words that they were learning, guided questions for developing a book report, and an area to give a rating and recommendation.
My middle-school aged son has formal instruction on writing papers through Beyond the Book Report by Analytical Grammar, and while I don’t feel compelled to spend large amounts of time giving similar instruction to my elementary students, I do want to begin guiding them in presenting their opinions and comprehension in a clear manner.
My husband and I decided that we could realistically expect two completed book reports from each of the children per session. Our 2014-2015 school year is broken into six sessions. We also wanted to be sure they were choosing a wide variety of books, so we’re asking that they write a report for books covering at least seven different book genres over the course of the school year.
They’ll use the pages facing the calendar months to record the titles and authors of each book they read, but they will only be required to complete full book report activities for two book per session.
For books that they read freely, they will also give it a star rating and explain why they would or would not recommend the book to a friend.
Do you want to create your own?
Would this style of book log be useful in your homeschool or class room? I’m offering my Book Log and Reading Journal files, as well as the kindergarten-1st grade version I’ve created for developing readers/writers, for you to download for free. Please do not post these files on your own website, instead please link to this post for others to download.Book Log and Reading Journal Set
My First Book Log and Reading Journal Set (K-1st)
We used Post-it Filing Tabs for all of our dividers, six dividers for the older version and four dividers for the k-1st version.
How we divided up our notebook:
- Title page on the first page
- Table of contents on the next right side page
- List of book genres
- Monthly calendar on the right side page (we hand write the numbers). On the left side facing page we wrote ‘Start’ ‘Book Title and Author’ and Finish’ to serve as the book log for all books read.
- The next right side page after the calendar section has the sheet of pre-reading instructions. ‘Before You Read’
- We found the center seam and placed the book report prompt on the right side page. ‘After Your Read’ The children can choose to write these up for as many books as they desire during the year, but at a minimum they will be expected to have two completed and corrected/critiqued per session.
- Divide the remaining pages between ‘Before You Read’ and the center seam and place the ‘While You Read’ instructions. We are using this to build vocabulary, you may decide to add more instructions for while they complete their books.
- For the book review section, ‘Follow Up,’ we counted 11 pages from the back of the book and placed the review instructions on the right side page.
- For the kindergarten-1st grade version we set it up similarly, but changed the expectations and the book report instructions.
If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments.
How have you creatively encouraged your children to take responsibility for their school documentation?
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