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Do time logs restrict school students’ reading habits?

time logs
Should schools encourage the use of time logs? Source: Stephanie Yaich/Unsplash

Do you ever remember reading a fantastic book at school, and then rushing to write it down in your time log so you could talk to your teacher and peers about it?

It’s a tradition that has remained, and could continue for many years to come.

Viewed as a go-to method for teachers to track students’ reading habits, some view time logs as encouraging, while others feel they are restrictive.

time logs

Are reading time logs useful? Source: Josh Applegate/Unsplash

Inspiring students to read

Excited to track their reading activities, students may enjoy having a time log to note down their latest page turns.

Along with encouraging learners to sit down with family or friends and read together, time logs also instil time management skills during the early stages of development.

Teaching students to be masters of management, these logs become passages into independent and critical thinking improvements.

When they reflect on their logs, students can see what books they enjoy most, how many stories they’ve experienced, how much time they set aside to enhance their reading abilities and if they’ve struggled at any stage.

For instance, if they note down that one book was harder to read than another, a teacher could help them work through the book’s topic or pick up any words/sentences they found difficult to understand.

Time logs don’t just track points of time, they also track potential problems.

Restricting students’ reading habits

According to Allie Thrower, Continuous Improvement Coach and College Instructor, tracking minutes wasn’t helping her students, so she decided to get rid of time logs.

“After using reading logs in my fifth-grade classroom for some time, I began to feel burdened by this daily routine. I noticed that students’ reading logs consistently showed the same number of minutes read each night: It was always 20.

“My students seemed to be reading merely because they had to – not because it opened up windows to the world, because reading about a character who looked like them brought them a sense of belonging and hope, or because they wanted to learn how to change the world for the better,” says Thrower.

Fixated on writing down the numbers rather than reading and enjoying the words, it seems that some learners are finding time logs ineffective.

Instead, the improvement coach finds improvement in establishing reading accountability partners in the classroom rather than rolling out time logs.

“Students need to be paired with someone who will challenge them academically and encourage them emotionally.

“A prerequisite to setting up partners is knowing your students. Spend time thinking about student relationships within your classroom, observing students interacting with one another, and listening in on conversations to ensure that you pair students with someone they’re comfortable with – who can also hold them accountable,” she explains.

By having another learner to read with, students will read every week and feel obliged to keep their schedule updated.

Viewing time logs as pressured and restrictive, Thrower believes that techniques like these will amplify reading habits in the classroom and strategically develop teamwork skills.

As a traditional classroom feature, many teachers will push for time logs to stay, while other educators might attempt to innovate the reading rituals in schools by adding in  accountability partners and letting go of logs.

But whether or not time logs remain, the feeling of togetherness brought by reading is something that must stay.

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