14 October 2012

Accountability for At-Home Reading

In my last post, I went over how I provide incentives for at-home practice in reading and math.  I mentioned my reading requirements, so I thought I should probably share those with you!

When I taught second grade, holding students accountable for required at-home reading was easy.  After meeting with each child daily in a guided reading group, I would send home the book we used as a "baggy" book.  A recording sheet would be kept in the child's baggy, and, after the child read the book with a parent or guardian, it would be recorded on the sheet and initialed by the adult.

When I moved to upper grades, things were different.  I don't always get meet with a child in a guided reading group daily.  Reading conferences are more common practice in my reading workshop.  So, instead of sending home a book for each child to read, my requirements became based on minutes reading. 

For the first couple of years, my accountability system was the honor system.  By signing their child's assignment book, parents were saying their child completed his or her nightly reading.  But when talking with the child, this became less and less true.  I needed a separate document...so I created a reading contract.

At the beginning of the year, I send home a document with this information...

Source: usd343.net via Jessica on Pinterest

Pretty powerful information...and quite eye opening for some parents!  Attached to that that document is our first reading contract of the year.  My school system is on a 9-weeks grading period, so here is the contract I use...

But I know some of you maybe on a 6-week grading period, so I created one for you too (you're welcome!)...
As you can see, there is a space for each week of the grading period. Students record the title of the book they read. (This lets me make sure they are doing "just right" reading!). Then they record the amount of time they read...knowing that 20 minutes is the minimum! Then they get a parent to initial. Then I check the contract on Friday mornings. (With 28 students in my class I could fathom trying to check these off each morning...it would take forever!)
Now has this solved all the problems...of course not!  But if students don't get their contract signed, they receive the same penalty as not completing math or science or social studies homework.  I also know the parent may not really know if their child has read or not.  I have had a parent that went ahead and initialed every night of the grading period on the first night her son brought his reading contract home (Hello!?! Did she think I wouldn't notice!)  Some children can't seem to pin their parents down to sign it because they work late or go to night school, and I work with these students.  But this also shows my parents and students that I am serious about reading at-home.

This is what works for me, but I know there are other ways.  How you hold your students accountable for their at-home reading?


  1. Wow! That's a powerful statement. I'd like to send that home to my parents. I've done a book log in the past with not so great results. It ended up being more trouble than it was worth for me. I'm trying take home book bags this year. It will be interesting!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  2. You are so right- pretty powerful stuff. I am borrowing this one for sure! Thanks for sharing :)
    Always A Lesson

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been doing a weekly reading log with very little results and lots of wasted paper. This is exactly what I was needing.
    Thank you-

  4. Thank you! This is awesome. It feels like some of my parents think reading at home is a waste of time. I can't wait to share this information at conferences.

  5. I love your accountability for at home reading form! I can't get it to download when I click on it.


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