Sep 15, 2023
min read
Parent Resources

School-Home Connections: The Reading Log, Unlocked

Sarah Nguyen

Now that the back-to-school excitement (and in some cases, anxiety) is behind us, we are all hopefully settling into the various rhythms of the new school year. Things are starting to feel more predictable as what were initially novel expectations and schedules are now becoming familiar.

I taught and worked as a literacy specialist and coach for over twenty years. As a parent and a teacher, I always welcomed the transition to this part of the school year. It just felt good to have everyone on board the new-school-year train, at school and at home, and to start seeing the whole system pick up steam a little bit. Maybe you’re starting to notice school-based routines that your child’s teacher is introducing and asking students to take part in. Some of these might even involve the whole family! School-home partnerships are a high-leverage tool that many educators strive to maximize whenever possible. Let’s start out by taking a look at a common example you might be encountering this time of year, then talk about how you can set your child--and yourself!--up for success.

The Reading Log

It’s very common for teachers, especially in the early grades, to assign nightly reading homework. This might involve you reading aloud to your child, them reading independently, or some combination of the two. The task may range from 15 minutes or so for kindergarteners up to 20, or even 30 minutes in some cases, for second graders. The reading log, in all its variations, is often a component of that assignment.

What is it, and how do you use it?

Just like the name sounds this is a tool that some teachers ask students to use to log, or record, their reading behaviors outside of school. Typically the reading log is completed nightly and due at school weekly for the teacher to review. At any grade level, it’s highly possible the log may ask for an adult signature to verify that the family is monitoring and supporting at-home reading.


How it can look in kindergarten:

For kindergarten students, the reading log might be as simple as a coloring-style sheet sent home each week featuring fun seasonal items the student shades in for every book they read at home: apples for September, pumpkins for October--you get the idea! 

In this case, the teacher is just looking to see how many books were read. A slightly more data-heavy kindergarten log might also ask for families to record book titles, so the teacher can see what kinds of books students are enjoying outside of school.  

How it can look in first grade:

First grade reading logs are usually a bit more complex. They generally involve the student and family working together to record details like book titles and the number of minutes read. Teachers may also include some sort of rating system in these logs, like a series of faces with different expressions to circle or color in to show how a student felt about the book they read at home each night. 


How it can look in second grade:

By second grade many students will be able to complete their nightly log without family assistance. Logs at this stage may include details like the date, the title and author, the number of pages read, and even something like a one-sentence retelling of the text.

Ello is a great addition to any child’s reading experience. It’s fun, motivating, low-pressure, and affordable.

But haven’t kids done enough reading during the day at school?

It’s true that literacy instruction is a key component of every instructional day in grades K through second. And, according to a research review published in the periodical Reading Research Quarterly, findings indicate that greater reading volume leads to greater reading proficiency[1]. It turns out more reading does appear to be better! Research aside, this is probably something that many teachers and parents can vouch for having seen over the years. It just makes sense! The more you do pretty much anything, the better you get at it, and reading’s no different in that way.

In spite of this research, many young readers still aren’t huge fans of the reading log. Mixing up at-home reading with a tool like the Read With Ello app can help motivate your child to get in their reading minutes and avoid parent-child reading struggles. 

Set yourself up for reading log success!

Here at Ello, we love using reading logs as a way to help establish a good at-home reading routine.If your child’s teacher is one of the many who sends home a reading log, here are some tips for making this tool a successful part of your family’s reading routine.

  • Make sure you understand your teacher’s system and expectations. When will they send the log home? How many minutes of reading do they want students to do outside of school each day? Do they want just that reading logged (so only the first 15 minutes), or all at-home reading (like including your bedtime stories)? Is a family signature required? When do they want the log to come back?
  • Create a system at home for storing, filling in, and returning the log. If it’s a weekly log, have your child take it out of their backpack the day it comes home and put it in a designated place where everyone in the family has access to it. The front of the fridge is perfect! That way everyone can do their part to fill it in and, if needed, sign it without it getting lost. On the night before it’s due, have your child return it to their backpack so it makes it to school right on time for the teacher to review.
  • Include any kind of reading your child does outside of school! Unless your teacher specifies otherwise, the log doesn’t have to capture only reading done from books. It could incorporate the recipe you read together when your child pitches in to help with dinner one night, and the signs you read on your way to that new field for soccer practice. And of course, any reading you do with Ello is absolutely going to be reading log-worthy! So grab a book, read along, and remember--more reading leads to more proficient readers!

Before Ello, we were battling to read books and it could take hours to complete reading that is necessary for school. After Ello, he doesn't want to stop reading. He loves the interactiveness of Ello.
Matthew R.

[1] Allington, Richard & McGill‐Franzen, Anne. (2021). Reading Volume and Reading Achievement: A Review of Recent Research. Reading Research Quarterly. 56. 10.1002/rrq.404.