Saturday, July 2, 2016

Reading log alternatives: a comparison

I never really thought about reading logs until last year when I read a few posts by one of the bloggers I follow, Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp). She has written a few posts on the subject, pointing out how reading logs actually discourage students from reading. Curious about this whole idea, I searched the topic and found that many other educators feel the same way. They assign reading logs only because they have to or its the way its always been done, not because they actually help students. In fact, a new post just this past month, In the Classroom: The Problem with Reading Logs and What I Did About It, caught my eye and brought this topic to the forefront of my thoughts again.

After reading her thoughts on it and examining my own habits as a parent, I realized that reading logs probably aren't the best way to hold students accountable. I read with my children every night, but I'm really bad about making sure it gets recorded in their log. In fact, I don't pay attention to the time required on the log at all. Last year my first grader was supposed to read 15 minutes a night. Instead, I just had her read a picture book or a beginner's chapter book until she was done, regardless of whether it took 5 minutes or 20. And then I just initialed for the time.

What I think students like better and is more motivating, is simply letting them choose the books they want to read and keeping track in a list. Not recording how many pages or how many minutes (because they always want to know the maximum number they have to read). There are several digital tools that help with this. I've blogged about Biblionasium, Bookopolis, and Goodreads, all websites where students can interact within the community, recording the books they read, sharing recommendations, writing reviews, and reading reviews from their peers.

Deciding which tool to use within your own class can be a tough decision. There are things to like about each one of these platforms, and limitations that make me think twice. I use Goodreads for myself and love it, but I can't use it with my class because of the age restriction. Here's a chart comparing features from all three platforms.

Please let me know in the comments if there is another criteria that I should be using to compare them. Also share any feedback you have on using any of them in the classroom, or suggest one that I haven't discovered yet.


  1. Well, I was leaning towards Biblionasium, but with the ability to integrate with Google Classroom, I might have to rethink that choice.

    1. I know! I was thinking the same thing. I helped several teachers get set up with Biblionasium and used it with my own kids. But there are a lot some features and UI that I like about Bookopolis, including the Google integration.