Friday, May 13, 2016

Student Reading Log Template with Google Sheets

Reading for pleasure produces great benefits for students. These can include increases in reading ability, writing ability, comprehension, grammar skills, vocabulary, self-confidence, general knowledge, cultural understanding, decision-making abilities, empathy, social skills, imagination, motivation, positive friendships, and more. (For more details see this summary of studies.)

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

To get your own copy of the “Reading Log Template” spreadsheet, click the link below:

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.

Teacher Tracking - If a teacher would like to be more involved in monitoring the reading logs, they should consider distributing the template through Google Classroom.

  • 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.


  1. Awesome!! Great for summer reading data and letting the student be in charge of his/her progress. Very helpful with teaching growth mindsets as well. Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much. I am going to share this with my ELA teachers.

  3. This is great, Eric! Thank you so much.

  4. I am sorry but I can not find the log tab to open the reading record sheet. Where should I be looking? thanks! All I can find is the Reading Log Goals sheet....thanks!

    1. Look at the bottom of the spreadsheet page and you should see two tabs. The first is the "Goals" tab and the second is the "Log" tab. Let me know if you can not locate the "Log" tab at the bottom of the Sheet.

  5. Natalie BernasconiMay 13, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Wonderful Eric. I've been doing reading goals and reading logs electronically all year but never married them in the same spreadsheet - brilliant!
    One comment though- many of my high schoolers do their reading for pleasure time online - current events, etc. There are no page numbers online. Can you think of a way besides time to quantify online reading? For goals, I've had them set time goals, and genre goals (to encourage broader reading) but that's it.
    We do also track "service" reading where they read to youth or elders plus "academic" reading where they read textbooks etc for their subject matter
    You are whip smart. I look forward to learning more from you!

    1. Natalie, good point about online reading without page numbers. Instead of pages I guess they could track words. They could use the Word Count Chrome extension to get a quick word count from a page they are reading -
      Also, in the spreadsheet template they do not have to add page counts if they do not want to. They can leave that column blank and just record minutes. Or put the word counts in the page count column instead.

  6. Shared this with the English teachers at my school. Much appreciated!

  7. I LOVE this!!! Thank you so much! I'm using this with my 3rd graders whom I'll get to work with as 4th graders next year! Much appreciated!

  8. Thank Eric I have been using a Google Spreadsheet reading log with my 3rd graders to log all their books because we have Accelerated Reader program at our school and they have to do outside reading as part of their reading grade. But I really like your Goal sheet idea, thanks for sharing. I am going to use it and share it with other teachers.

  9. Dan Kaufmann created a similar reading log form, and a really cool gSheet to gamify a summer reading log,
    Check out the Instructions sheet, "publish sheet" and the guild sheet.
    Cool stuff

    1. Chris, that is awesome! Thanks for sharing those links. There are so many creative ways people can go with reading logs to help encourage student reading.

  10. Hi tried using your template to monitor reading with my first grader but it's looked to view only . I can't add the books she read. Can you help?

  11. What I love about your template is the goals. It's excellent, and I've decided to use your template. Thank you so much! I was going crazy trying to figure out just how to track students' reading, and this is perfect. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate it.


  12. Eric, I love this! How hard would it be for it to have the starting and ending page on it so that the sheet automatically filled it in?? I ask this because often times kids forget where they left off on the book so having the page numbers would be helpful. Also allowing the computer to automatically calculate the pages would be great too and would keep the kids honest in the pages. Is this something that can be done easily???

  13. Eric, we love this at our school! We do monthly logs. Instead of wiping the sheet and beginning again, could the students add another sheet and have it connect with the original log sheet for goal updates???