Studies also show that reading for fun is a preferred alternative to traditional homework, especially for elementary students (see details).
It makes sense then that we should find ways to support and encourage students to read. One way to do this is by having the students set reading goals and then track their reading in a log to help reach those goals.
Traditionally a reading log is a piece of paper that students bring home for the summer, or for the course of the school year, to fill in their progress. Unfortunately papers can easily get lost or damaged, and do not give any cumulative feedback on their own.
One way to improve the old reading log is to convert it into a digital format. To help with this, I have created a free Google Sheets template for a reading log. It lets the student set goals and record their reading, and also calculates and displays their progress toward the goals, while making the form easy to share and view by parents and teachers as well.
See below to get your own copy of the Reading Log template, directions for how it works, and suggestions for how to implement this with your students.
Reading Log Template
- Get your own copy: Google Sheets link
The template consists of two tabs:
- The Goals tab - Here the student will enter any goals they have for reading. This tab will also display charts to show the student’s progress toward meeting their goals.
- The Log tab - Here the student will record what they read each day.
The Goals Tab
The Goals tab lets the student set goals and monitor their progress toward those goals.
- First the student should type into the yellow boxes any goals they have for number of hours read, number of pages read, and/or number of books read. They can change these at any time if they need to adjust their goals.
- Next, as the student fills in the Log tab with reading records, the Goals tab will display a running total of the hours, pages, and books read.
- The Goals tab will also display what percentage they have accomplished toward each goal.
- Finally the Goals tab will also display column graphs to show how much they have currently read compared to their goal levels.
The Log Tab
The Log tab is where the student will record what they read for each day. On each row they should enter:
- The date for the record
- The title of the book they are reading
- The author of the book
- How many pages of that book they read that day
- How many minutes they spent reading that book on that day
- If the student reads different books in one day, they can enter each book in its own row.
As the student fills in the Log tab with reading records, the Goals tab will automatically update with totals, percentages, and column graphs.
Suggestions for Deployment
The Reading Log template can be used with students in several ways depending on your needs.
Individual Use - You can simply have your students make copies of the template and then fill it out as they read books. This will let the student set and monitor their own goals. However, teachers will not be able to see the results unless the student chooses to share the Google Sheet with them.
- The teacher would make their own copy of the Reading Log template.
- Then they would create an assignment in Google Classroom and attach the Reading Log template from their drive.
- The teacher should choose the option to “Make a copy for each student” so that each student gets their own copy of the Reading Log, named after the student.
- The teacher can choose to set “No due date” or choose a date at the end of the grading period, school year, or summer.
- When assigned, the students will now get their own copies of the Reading Log to fill out. The students should not click the “Turn in” button though, since the log will be an ongoing project.
- The teacher can open and view the students’ individual Reading Logs anytime they need by opening the assignment, or by going to the assignment’s folder in their Google Drive Classroom folder.
Hopefully using a digital, online reading log will make it easier for students to track their reading and for teachers to monitor their progress. Also being able to set and track goals can help motivate the students to read more.
Feel free to use my sample Reading Log with your students for Summer break, or a grading period, or the whole year. If you have any suggestions for improvements or other resources to share, please leave your thoughts in the Comment section below.