Telling teacher we're not going to track reading at home? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So ds1's 4th grade teacher sent home a monthly calendar and each day he is supposed to log 20 minutes of reading, including what he read and which pages.

I am very happy with ds1's reading - he is at or above grade level, he reads to himself a lot and we read together a lot. Some days he will read for hours, some days not at all, depending on his mood, what else is going on, his energy level, etc.

I can already see that this reading chart is having the effect of turning reading into a chore, and I really don't want that to happen for him. So, I'm planning on telling the teacher that we aren't going to do the chart, but I don't know really how to go about it. Any suggestions? Am I crazy?
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#2 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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Find out from the teacher what the consequences are of not doing it - does it affect their grade? Will your kids care?

If it does not affect grade (or anything else) I would simply not do it. I would write a note explaining why so the teacher does not just think your are lazy/unconcerned. I did this once.

If it does affect things - I would do it, but I would keep it low key. I did this once as well. When I was presented with reading logs, I simply filled them in once a week or so, and made up number of pages or books read. I did not ask the kids about it - I was not going to turn reading into a chore that needed to be quanitified by them.
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#3 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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I wouldn't "tell" the teacher we weren't going to do it, I would talk with her about it.
My DS1 is an advanced reader, and has been since he started kindergarten. Every grade has had some version of a reading chart. And every year we go into it with me saying, "OK, we'll do this, but I just want you to know that the format won't really fit the way he reads." And they say that's fine, let's just get an idea.
And every time it takes about two weeks before the teacher tells me to not even worry about it, because it becomes clear to them very quickly that DS1 is reading a lot, and he's reading well above his grade level, and that trying to encourage him to read at all is not an issue.
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#4 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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And every time it takes about two weeks before the teacher tells me to not even worry about it, because it becomes clear to them very quickly that DS1 is reading a lot, and he's reading well above his grade level, and that trying to encourage him to read at all is not an issue.
This may work as well. You could suggest you diligently fill out the log for a month or so - but after that time, if it is determined your kids read enough, you want to quit doing the log as you have established reading enough is not an issue.
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#5 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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My policy is that I don't allow reading logs in my home, for the exact reasons you state. All they do is turn reading into a chore. I've written extensively on this issue.

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#6 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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I spoke to my daughter's first grade teacher about it last year. I signed the forms, but often didn't keep track of the books. I am and always have been an avid reader. My daughter was beginning to DREAD reading because it was for an enforced amount of time.

I couldn't stand that. I love it so much and the idea of it becoming this THING that she HAD to do really bugged me. DD would pick easy books and constantly ask me if her time was up.

Once I talked it over with the teacher and she could see that DD was doing fine, she was okay with it. She basically told me that it was obvious that DD was reading and being read to and it wasn't really for students like her, but rather kids where reading wasn't something that typically happened in the home.

So it ended up being no big deal. This year, I haven't seen the reading logs yet. My kids are in 1st and 2nd grade. I have them read in bed for a half hour before lights out. If the possible logs become a problem again, I'll address it the same way.
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#7 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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I hate reading logs, too, and if they bothered my DD, I would probably meet with the teacher to object. But as it is, my 9.5 yo so far has done great filling it out this year. She has to write short summaries of what she read, the amount of time spent reading, and have me initial it. She usually just reads before bed and counts that.

I agree that they are unnecessary and have the ability to turn reading into a chore - but until my DD complains about filling it out or about reading as homework in general (ugh, that would irritate me, b/c she is an avid reader), then I'm not going to rock the boat.

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#8 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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I should also add.... When I do the logs, I'm not at ALL meticulous about it. Like, I'll write, for example, Mon. Tue. Wed. Stuart Little 20 minutes+
And so on. I don't write, 20 minutes of this, 10 minutes of that, or anything. It's not exact at all, and for a child who reads, it doesn't need to be. The problem is, some kids do not read, at all. And their parents don't read. And their parents don't encourage reading. So for some kids, I do really think these logs do matter.
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#9 of 37 Old 09-02-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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My kids school does reading logs. I don't have a problem with it but they don't always get filled out each day either.

My kids are iin grades 3, 4, & 7. by the time they're in Grade 2 they're in charge of filling out their own chart. My dd in Grade 4 brought hers home yesterday(first day of school). She loves stuff like this & will diligently fill out her form. She reads for at least 1hour every day. THey all read in bed before going to sleep.

It hasn't added extra work or made reading a chore for them as they're reading anyhow, they just mark it down. If they don't read they don't write it down for that day. My older 2 read well above grade level.
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#10 of 37 Old 09-03-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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I'm really direct about this with my kids' teachers. We're going on several years of refusing to do reading logs, so at this point the teachers expect it. I just let them know, respectfully, that our family does not do reading logs. My kids are good readers, and I don't want to make reading a chore for them.

This year, the teachers anticipated and didn't even make reading logs for 2 of my children

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#11 of 37 Old 09-03-2010, 10:55 PM
 
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Interesting thread. I adore DD1's teacher but she does reading charts. DD1 is dyslexic and does not read still which menas I am the one filling out the darned chart on a daily basis. Last thing that thing was the bane of my existence. Towards the end of the year I just gave up and quit doing it. She gets read to everyday so that isn't an issue, I find filling out a chart for how much I am reading to her absurd.

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#12 of 37 Old 09-03-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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Ds tends to just scan or flip through books so we do the sit down just to ensure he is actually reading (1st grade). We choose our own books so I picked up a couple "Phineas and Ferb books" and he read half a chapter tonight. He doesn't particularly like reading out loud so our deal is that he reads to me and I read to him. They ask us to read 5 days a week for 15min; I'm not a stickler for the timing but it takes ds about that long to read the chapter to me.

Ds is in a charter school that generally has more stringent requirements than regular public school.

When ds was 4 and 5 we had him read to his younger sister; he enjoyed that more than reading to us. But now his sister is too much of a distraction and it takes too long that way ;oP

When I was in London (study abroad) I worked at a boys school that had reading log time during the day and at home.

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#13 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 12:17 AM
 
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I just never did it. They asked for it. I never did it. I have 5 children. I was asked to track for the 3 who did 1st and 2nd in the public school and I just didn't. It ruins reading. Sometimes, they would remind me to do it, but then it was left alone.

While I know I will get reamed for saying this, I am not above just listing a bunch of stuff. My 8 yr old is an avid reader and read so much, I was not about to follow him around and keep track of it. So, I picked the funniest stuff he read and wrote it down. I was pregnant that year, LOL. He loved books like "What to Expect When Your Wife is Expecting" and "Your Pregnancy Week By Week." So I wrote those down. Apparently, my son's 1st grade reading list was passed around the school to all the teachers and office staff, LOL.
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#14 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought about just not doing it, but at 4th grade, he gets penalized, so that's not an option that would work for him.

I talked with the teacher briefly about it today, and apparently her main concern is that they are reading chapter books to do book reports. I told her about how much we read around here, and how hard it would be to keep track of how many pages in which book and for how long, and her answer was that she just wanted to make sure that a month didn't go by without any progress in a chapter book being made, and her calendar was her way of reviewing that.

So, I'm still not sure how to approach this. She wants the kids to do anywhere from 4-9 book reports each quarter! If you choose to do 4-5, you get a C, 6-7 you get a B, 8-9 you get an A. Seems weird to me, but I'll have ds1 pick his first chapter book and see how it goes.

Ds2's 1st grade teacher made reference to a reading chart, but I haven't seen one yet. However, she is moving him into the accelerated reading group since he has already been reading for 2 years, so we'll see if she still thinks it's necessary for him to fill one out.

There are a lot of things I appreciate about school, but this kind of stuff makes me crazy and definitely falls under the category of "why I would choose to homeschool." I don't know why a teacher can't take my word for it that it's not an issue. I'm an obviously involved, attentive, tuned in parent, and my kids are reading just fine.
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#15 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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I don't know why a teacher can't take my word for it that it's not an issue.
because there are parents who say the same thing & never do it. There are parents who do not do the charts, ever, & those kids fall behind.

Time is easy to keep track of. I generalize it. My kids read in bed, I put down 30min each time. most of the time they read more than that, some days they don't read at all so I figure it evens out in the long run.lol

Pages would drive me nuts. If it was books that were ours I'd make up a number of pages that would roughly correspond with the same amount of time. If it's books from school I'd put a bookmark in where they started & have them put one in where they ended.

In Grade 4 this is something your child can be filling out on their own, you really shouldn't have to do anything with it.
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#16 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 02:46 AM
 
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While I know I will get reamed for saying this, I am not above just listing a bunch of stuff.
That's pretty much what I did.

Rather than keeping track of exactly what pages DD read each day, at the end of the week I just wrote down random sections of whatever book(s) she'd been reading. I could fill in the chart for the whole week in less than 5 minutes.

She was in 5th grade at the time. Doing this way was easier on everyone than taking the thing too seriously.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#17 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 03:29 AM
 
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Have you asked your son what he thinks about the reading log? As a kid I loved to complete my reading logs. LOVED them. Dialectical journals, on the other hand, blechola.
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#18 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 04:21 AM
 
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I thought about just not doing it, but at 4th grade, he gets penalized, so that's not an option that would work for him.
We've been known to fudge reading logs. Kids are supposed to keep them for M-F, but our kids read every night 7 days a week. So, if we don't get the 20-30 minutes in one night done, we don't sweat it. We actually have told our kids that. Ds is a very 'by the rules' kind of kid and it bothers him to fudge it, but the reality is that with bedtime stories, we almost always get at least 20 minutes in. I'm not going to make him sit down and do an extra 20 minutes of reading when it's already 10 pm.

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wants the kids to do anywhere from 4-9 book reports each quarter! If you choose to do 4-5, you get a C, 6-7 you get a B, 8-9 you get an A. Seems weird to me, but I'll have ds1 pick his first chapter book and see how it goes.
Now there's a system designed to make a kid underachieve! I certainly hope ds' 4th grade teacher doesn't do something similar.

Ds could easily get through 9 books a quarter, but he wouldn't be stretching himself. If he were told he had to read 9 books to get an A, he'd choose 9 easy books. I would definitely be pointing that out to the teacher and asking her to consider quality. I'm thankful our school doesn't do letter grades until 6th grade.


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I don't know why a teacher can't take my word for it that it's not an issue. I'm an obviously involved, attentive, tuned in parent, and my kids are reading just fine.
Because in the first weeks of school, a lot of parents are involved and attentive, but they really fall off as the school year goes on. And a lot of parents want the teachers to 'trust them' because they don't feel they have the time/energy to make sure the kids do it, or because the kids are 'too busy'. And because they have to the same rules or chaos ensues. "But So-and-So doesn't have to do the reading log..." Do you really want her to have to have that argument with 25 9 and 10 year olds? Take pity on the poor teacher.

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#19 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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In Grade 4 this is something your child can be filling out on their own, you really shouldn't have to do anything with it.
I agree. I never did reading logs (they weren't in vogue yet when I was a kid), but we did have to do practice charts for band. I filled them out (and signed my mom's initials) because my mom didn't want to. I think 4th grade is old enough to learn to do it if it's important to him.

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#20 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 10:32 AM
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Of course you're not crazy! It depends on the kid. My ds really needed the motivation of keeping track of reading minutes.

My dd on the other hand, found it a real chore, just like your son. So we didn't keep track of it and I just fudged the log at the end of the month when we were supposed to turn it in. I knew she had read way above the total minutes she was supposed to.

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#21 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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***
Because in the first weeks of school, a lot of parents are involved and attentive, but they really fall off as the school year goes on. And a lot of parents want the teachers to 'trust them' because they don't feel they have the time/energy to make sure the kids do it, or because the kids are 'too busy'.
***

Didn't we used to have a system where the kids learned to read in school, and what the kids did in their own time was none of the teachers' business? I want to go back to those days. It ticks me off that teachers think they have a right to tell me how to conduct my home life.
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#22 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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Those logs literally take minutes a week to fill out. To ME, this isn't a hill to die on. There are more important battles to fight on behalf of our kids than five minutes a week.

One of my kids was an avid reader and read more than the 20 required minutes per day. The other? Really isn't.Never has been. And for HER, having that "requirement" made it easier to at least get her to pick up a book on a regular basis - whether she read on her own, we read it together, I read it aloud, we listened to a book on tape while following along in the book, etc. It usually ended up being more than 20 minutes, as one or the other would say "hey - let's just get to the end of the chapter, eh?" Reading still isn't her favorite activity, but she will sit down with a book if it's nonfiction and fits in with her interests.
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#23 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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I was all up in arms about it to, at first, until................we actually had a really positive experience with the program, for both of our kids-both very different readers. I haven't found that it has turned reading into a chore, at all, and I don't think it's made my kids resistant to reading, in the least. I find that my ps'd kids and their friends are passionate about their books. This has completely taken me by surprise, but when I see my middle school dd and her friends clamoring to go to the bookstore for a new book they've heard about, I have to smile. My elem. aged child and his friends can't get to their chapter books fast enough. I think that I was the one with the negative attitude about the program-not my kids, lol.
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#24 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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Didn't we used to have a system where the kids learned to read in school, and what the kids did in their own time was none of the teachers' business? I want to go back to those days. It ticks me off that teachers think they have a right to tell me how to conduct my home life.
Didn't we also have a system where most kids left school at 8th grade or earlier to go work on the farm or in a factory? So, it didn't matter if they couldn't read all that well? Didn't kids in the olden days also have homework? Didn't owning books used to be a luxury that few families could afford? Didn't we also have a system where few people went to college?

Did we also used to not have TV to compete with reading? Didn't most kids spend several hours a day doing chores at home rather than watching TV?

Haven't we also learned a bit about what makes kids successful in school, and know that kids who read at home do better? Haven't we also learned that having parents involved with the kids' schooling helps them feel better about school and thus succeed? Haven't we also developed an economy where children need more than a 6th grade reading ability?

If you choose to send your child to school, you choose to be part of the system. Part of that system involves homework. Homework = school telling you to spend your time. That was true 100 years ago and it's true today. If you don't want that, then it sounds to me like homeschooling is more your style.

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#25 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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Reading logs are not in the least bit necessary in this home, but I totally see where they're helpful for some kids.

Ds is in 6th grade and I'm surprised that he still has a reading log. I signed the whole week's worth on Monday night.

He's supposed to read a certain number of pages, which is a pain for him to track. I tried to suggest he write a best guess for each night but that feels like cheating to him. I also tried to do the fudge thing for him and he picked up on it and doesn't like it. Well good for him!! My boy doesn't want me to cheat for him.

I predict that within a couple months his teacher won't be requiring him to keep the log going.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#26 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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This is the first year we've had a reading log. It's for my 3rd grade dd. She is supposed to read for 15 minutes each night and then re-tell me or her dad what she read and then we log what she read, how many pages, and any comments we have.

The reading part is no problem- she loves to read- but she's not good at re-telling. She needs me to lead it, but I know she's understood it because all I have to say is, "and then what happened" and she can tell me. Her comprehension can be improved upon so we're doing it.
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#27 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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If you choose to send your child to school, you choose to be part of the system. Part of that system involves homework. Homework = school telling you to spend your time. That was true 100 years ago and it's true today. If you don't want that, then it sounds to me like homeschooling is more your style.
I don't entirely agree with this. Do we really have to take accept school and its policies 100% of the time or HS? What about people who do not want to HS or can't HS? Challenging schools on their policies can only help them grow and be accountable.

I do think that if you disagree with school on many issues or on fundamental issues - you should arrange your childs education differently. Reading logs are not an issue to leave school over, but they might be an issue to challenge the school on and hopefully effect positive change (and positive change does not necessarily mean getting rid of reading logs - but it may mean listenning to parents and tweaking things so they are more meaningful for kids who already do read a fair bit)
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#28 of 37 Old 09-04-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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Have you asked your son what he thinks about the reading log? As a kid I loved to complete my reading logs. LOVED them. Dialectical journals, on the other hand, blechola.
My dd also loves reading logs because she can see what she is doing. I love them because my dd will read daily with them and her reading continues to improve very quickly. I also think you really need to get your son's buy in before just saying you won't do them. Tell him what you notice and ask him if it is related to the reading log or just how he is feeling that week. The point is to read a lot not to necessarily read daily so the teacher may be fine with tracking his actual reading or you could just fill in time so it doesn't have to be an issue.
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#29 of 37 Old 09-05-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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I don't entirely agree with this. Do we really have to take accept school and its policies 100% of the time or HS? What about people who do not want to HS or can't HS? Challenging schools on their policies can only help them grow and be accountable.
I didn't say that we had to accept 100% what the school is doing. If you've read other posts by me on this forum, I have suggested challenging some requirements by the school (written homework in K, for example). I'm perfectly willing to lie on the darned reading logs if necessary. But I recognize the value of them for many children.

But if you send your child to school, you do have to buy in to the idea that they are going to ask you to do some school work on your own time eventually. If you interpret that as the school telling you how to spend your time, then you're in for a very confrontational relationship with the school at the very least.

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#30 of 37 Old 09-06-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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If it was putting my child off reading then I just wouldn't do it. What are they going to do?
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