A Library Log for Every Kind of Homeschool Reader
For the eager, independent reader, a Reading Log can help you keep track of the number and diversity of books consumed by your busy homeschool bookworm. For us, it helps keep track of all the independent reading that’s become a huge part of our homeschool routine. We just photograph covers one at a time, or in a cluster. This makes it easy to quickly memorialized both progress and interests in one fell swoop. This works well, even when you’re out of the house on the go.
For the reluctant homeschool reader, a Reading Log can encourage a sense of accomplishment and victory. First of all, when you take the time to capture images of the books your child reads, you demonstrate that they’ve achieved something of value. It’s pure encouragement. Call this trophy hunting the “Pokemon Approach,” if they’re skeptical. You love to collect book titles like they love to collect Pokemon, and you’re going to get them all! Sometimes gamifying chores is the only way to get them excited. (Games motivate me, too!)
Also, making a record of books kids read is helpful when you’re working with tutors, advisors and other literacy resources. Good children’s librarians are great about recommending similar books for further exploration. Once you hit on the subject that drives their interest in reading, you want to be right there with them, ready to source similar material to pull them forward.
Either way, keeping a Homeschool Reading Log is a great way to maintain accountability and track your homeschool progress.
Independent Reading at the Library
Maybe you schedule library time regularly, or only visit occasionally. Either way, keeping a log of the books and resources that catch your homeschooler’s attention has many benefits. I keep a quick log using my smartphone app to capture the book covers she reads and books she wants to read, to organize in my Portfolio app later.
My 9-year old daughter is a voracious independent reader. She relishes time I spend at the library to write or research. She sits down with several books to read while we’re there. On visits like this, she tends to plow through books that are below her reading level so they’re fast, easy and fun. My biggest challenge has always been to find books that challenge her and that are also developmentally appropriate. She will often finish a stack of easy books in an hour. Fortunately, I’ve convinced her to walk out of the library with more advanced books that she needs more time to enjoy. It’s my job to track them all!
Promoting Fluent Reading
I encouraged these library habits when she was just starting to read fluently, and I’m glad I did. We’re blessed to have a terrific library at home, but when she started reading fluently, she was off and running. I was determined to consistently satisfy and increase her appetite for books. I did not want her interest in independent reading to waver for even a moment. That’s when the library became an important part of our learning routine, even before we homeschooled.
Back then, she would show up at the check-out counter with a stack of Magic Treehouse or Rainbow Magic books, which were becoming very easy for her. I would ask her how long it would take to finish one of the books. She would tell me and together we’d do the math (insert multiplication exercise here!) on how long the books she’d chosen would keep her occupied. I would then remind her we wouldn’t visit the library again for a week! Plus, we had many of these chapter books at home, which she could re-read if she wished.
My daughter saw the benefit of selecting higher level books to bring home. This strategy has worked really well. She brings home a mix of fresh and exciting books for independent reading, especially since we started homeschooling and she has more time to read. I still find it ironic that school used to interfere with my daughter’s independent reading!
Titles usually include a couple of breezy reads from a favorite series, plus several books that will take her days to tackle. We’ve managed to balance her choices so we’re not making trips to the library more than weekly. The Library Reading Log helps us keep track, so I know when to suggest she levels up her choices.
Logging for Subject Based Learning Themes
The library is like a smorgasbord! Our Homeschool Library Reading Log becomes a great resource for choosing curriculum topics. No matter what kind of books she finds engaging, I grab a picture of the title page because they create a record of what interests her right now and where her head is at. I will usually ask her about the titles later. If her interest is keen, then a related subject might make a great theme for our Subject Based Learning strategy. I’m always especially attentive for topics related to science and history.
If we didn’t keep a log of her independent reading, I would have missed countless opportunities to engage with her about history. The record allows me to recommend related subjects and round out her knowledge.
Our Literary Bank Log
I also use a log to keep track of titles my child might like to read in the future. Someone might mention a title and I’ll add it to the reading list. Or, we’ll see something in a book store or run across a good reading list online. By banking titles for the future, I’m giving my daughter something to look forward to and allowing her to envision herself as an even more accomplished reader one day.
At the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this spring, my daughter was immediately drawn to a booth for the Jane Austen Society. It was a great booth, with all kinds of brilliant literary touches, like a proper English tea party in a tent! I mentioned that I can’t wait to share these books with her, but that she’s not quite ready for the subject matter. Her eyes were glittering at the prospect and by adding her books to our literary bank, we saved them for future enjoyment.
It’s exciting for me to watch the list grow. And the list surprises me sometimes, which is one key reason I make a point of tracking her interests independent of mine. I can see that we have similar taste in literature, but they’re not the same. I want to honor her unique curiosity, rather than forcing her to read Harry Potter when she’s craving Victorian authors. Never mind that I’ve been
waiting to read the Potter books with her for longer than she has been alive. If she’s not interested in Harry Potter, despite all that marketing powerhouse brings to bear, we wait.
Which reminds me. Apparently, I need a reading log of my own!