When I was a kid, my nose was always in a book. I lived for the Scholastic Book order thing, so I could order more and more and more! Plus the cute puppy poster that came when you ordered three books.
I remember my parents and even my grandparents forcing me to put my book du jour down so I could be present with my family at dinner, or at vacation, or during family events.
“Look up,” my mom would say, when we were in the car because she was worried I would get car sick from looking down the whole time. I learned at an early age just the amount of the check looks at the horizon I needed to keep my head and tummy clear and my interest wrapped in the book.
My love for reading continued for the rest of my life. There’s never a time when I’m reading nothing. Nowadays it’s usually on my phone or ipad. But I love books.
When my oldest, Isa, was in elementary school, she hardly ever did that. Now that she’s in 7th grade, and no longer a slave to the prescribed mandatory reading logs, she reads on her own just because she enjoys it. Her favorite day was getting a new library card over the summer. She devoured books as fast as she could check them out.
Gabi is now in third grade. And she has reached the same stage as Isa did. Where reading is a form of torture. And recording the book title and page numbers she reads each night for 20 minutes. That’s it. No more than that. She can’t wait to get through it and be done.
I firmly believe that the reading logs are evil. Not only does her log need to be completed and turned in on Fridays, but I have to sign it!
Now, that’s just ridiculous. They have something called AR which I’m not even sure what it stands for, but when they complete books, the students take a comprehension test and get points for completing them. When I was a kid it was called SRA.
So, I ask you, if they have to read books to take the test, why do they also have to do a reading log and why do I have to sign it? If a student isn’t doing the reading, it would be evident in their AR tests. If they are doing it, it would also be shown by the test. And in Gabi’s case, I’d be willing to bet that she would do better on her AR if she was left to her own pace of reading and deciding how long to read each night.
I know I’m not alone here.
The worst part is, last week, we forgot about the log and she didn’t have me sign it. So, she got detention for not turning it in with my signature. And had to stay in at recess. Guess what she did during detention… READ! So, not only is she mandated to read each evening but reading is also part of the penalty for not having it done? Way to reinforce the negativity she associates with reading.
So then, she lies. We ask her, did you finish your homework? Yes. Did you read? Yes. What book did you read? Um. …
She just wants to get through her reading so she can do other things. She doesn’t care to read and will go to the trouble to avoid it. That makes me sad.
It’s just backward thinking. It’s time schools did away with the parent signed logs.
Just let the kids get excited about reading again.
I need to start reading to her again. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Harry Potter. Harriet the Spy.
We’ll get through it. Like we did with Isa. And probably will with the twins. But I’m intending to counteract the log with the love. Reading should be a joy.