Like lots of parents, when your child brought home a reading diary from school to be completed every week, your heart may have felt a little heavy in your chest. Unless you have a school or a class teacher who regularly communicates their expectations, you may not feel like a co-contributor to your child’s reading development, let alone confident that your comments are valued and helpful. You may be unaware of how crucial completing reading diaries can be to developing your child as a reader.
Here are four reasons why your child needs a reading diary:
- Keeping a log of all the books you have read over a year is a precious resource. The next time your child is stuck choosing a book, look back with them at what they have enjoyed, you will find loved authors they have forgotten about and books in a series they would want to read.
- Children have a limited amount of independent reading time at school, in some classes children never get to choose a book for themselves or read independently. With the introduction of the New Curriculum that is how busy their school life has become, the increased focus on developing reading skills means teachers feel pressured to make sure every minute counts, every text read has to be something that offers maximum learning opportunities. Teachers who know their kids and are avid readers inspire and motivate children. However, as parents, we have a different role to play, we need to give guidance, space and block out time for children to find books they love, provide opportunities for them to discover the sheer enjoyment books can provide. As parents, we need to value our child’s opinions when we talk about their reading. To make comments based on our observations in the diary, providing a different picture about their reading life at home is such valuable information.
- A reading diary can be used to provide consistency and expectation, and it can shape how you structure reading time. The teacher should communicate who needs to write in it, but bear in mind it is always good to make comments and keep communicating at least once a week even when your child is in Year 6.
- You and your child can set a reading challenge, for example, to read so many books in a year or to finish a series. A reading diary can then communicate this to the class teacher who can celebrate achievements and support your child when reading at school or choosing a book.
I always enjoy seeing how parents have found systems that work for them so I’d love to hear or look at your reading diary ideas.