By Jessica Sanders
Independent reading management has always been a challenging task for teachers—paper reading logs are a pain to track and student motivation and accountability is difficult to maintain.
The following tools make it easy for you to streamline every aspect of independent reading management, including:
- Standards mastery
- Book choice
- Book talk
Consider which tool(s) will be most effective in your classroom.
Accountability, Book talk
Twitter may seem like an unusual to include on this list, but hashtags make it easy to track and hold students accountable for their reading. Ask students to tweet one favorite line from their reading each week, including the class-specific hashtag. You can then search the hashtag and read through the tweets, checking that everyone did the assignment.
This is a great way to facilitate digital book talk, allowing shy students to share with their peers as well.
The number one student excuse for not completing independent reading: I didn’t have anything to read. Eliminate that excuse by providing your students with access to Novelry—where they can find new books to read based on genre, themes, characters and more.
3. Google Docs
Have students keep their independent reading notes in a private Google Doc that’s shared with you—keep all of these docs in a folder, where you can easily access every student’s notes. Set a due date for updating their notes (most recent at the top of the doc) and then check once a week, adding comments and feedback quickly and easily.
Accountability, Standards mastery, Book talk, Journals, Goals
Paper reading logs are the worst. Throw them away and sign up for Whooo’s Reading instead. Not only is independent reading easier to track—students log their reading online—but the tool motivates students to read more every day thanks to a variety of gamification features.
Students are also able to answer standards-aligned, open-ended comprehension questions that encourage higher-level thinking. You can read, score, and provide feedback to each individual response privately.
You also have access to reading data, allowing you to monitor students’ Lexile levels, mastery of specific reading anchors, and frequency of reading.
Sign up at $15/month as a teacher, or encourage admin to purchase a schoolwide subscription on a per student basis.
5. Story Snoops
This is a great resource for students to find new books based on book reviews. Students can narrow their search by age level, genre, gender of the protagonist and more.
Book choice, accountability
If students are completing their independent reading in the classroom, you want to make it easy for them to find books and even take them out to be finished at home. With Classroom Organizer you can catalog all the books in your classroom library, facilitate book lending, and run assessment reports on student activity.
7. Google Sheets
While Whooo’s Reading is a great way to hold students accountable for their reading—if they don’t log it, you’ll know—Google Sheets is a great way to hold older students, who might be too old for Whooo’s Reading, accountable. Each student has their own private sheet, shared with you, where they add the date, a summary of the reading, etc. You can easily pull these time sheets up at any moment, on any device, to check in.
8. Google Calendar
Use Google Calendar’s new integration with Google Classroom, or on it’s own, to monitor student reading goals. Input a monthly goal, including weekly totals for students at the end of every week. Set reminders to hold them accountable—they can’t say they forgot what their reading goals were if they were notified four times throughout the month.