The Best Guide for Students to Keep Track of Books They Read Without Stress | Mentoring in the Middle

The Best Guide for Students to Keep Track of Books They Read Without Stress

 Fifth-grade teacher:  I asked for this student to be in your class because he says he doesn't like to read.  I just think he hasn't found the right books yet.

Me:  Okay, let me see what I can do.

Also Me:  Let's start with keeping track of what they like and don't like.

I had a reputation for being a "matchmaker" between kids and books.  It wasn't anything magical; I just enjoyed taking the time to get to know kids as readers and help them learn some things about themselves.  And I enjoyed staying up-to-date on middle-grade books so that I could match their interests with books.

So, what are the best ways I found to help students get to know themselves as readers?  I started here.

I knew I needed to find out their likes and dislikes around music, sports, social media, school, friends, etc.  The more you learn about them, the better fit you'll come up with.  

  • A student doesn't know what they like?  Ask questions about their interests, pets, friends, activities, and anything to make a connection between them and a book character.
  • A student says they don't like to read?  Give them a quicker read - a shorter book, a graphic novel, or one with pictures.  Even picture books are a great place to start.  
  • A student says those lose interest quickly?  Give them a book that starts off with a bang and is filled with adventure!

I made and used this reading survey with my students for many years and was always pleased with the information it gave me.  I transferred some of that information to a sheet I made for each student that I kept in a binder, and then I would refer to it when we spoke.

Not only did it help me know their interests, but I noted our discussions about books.

They kept track of every book they tried and could keep track of how it was going.  Even if they quit.

These easy-to-fill-out Reading logs were kept in each student's binder, right in the front.  Every time they started, finished, or quit a book, they put it into their log.  It only took a few reminders at the beginning of the year before the logs became a routine part of their reading habits.
"Do you remember that book you talked about a few weeks ago?  It sounded really good! "
"What was the name of it?"
"I don't remember."
" you remember what it was about?  Or who wrote it?"
....blank stare..."I don't remember but I knew I wanted to read it when you talked about it!"

That's why this TBR (To Be Read) list became the second most important sheet in their binder.  Whenever anyone recommended a book to them, they wrote it down.  Then, when they looked for a book in my room, or we went to the school library, they brought that list with them.

I hope you found these suggestions for how to keep track of books for your students helpful!

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