5th Grade Reading Logs & Book Series (Wild Readers Make Plans)

Happy Thursday, friends! Today marks the second-to-last week of our Reading in the Wild summer book study.
 If you are just joining us and missed the first week (Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read), second week (Creating a Workshop Schedule that Works for You), third week (Building an Excitement for Reading), 4th week (Curating a Classroom Library), or 5th week (Conferring: What's the Point?) make sure to check them out!

This week's hosts are Deb at Crafting Connections and Kim at Finding Joy in 6th. They are the sweetest ladies, so make sure to stop by and say, 'Hi!'
In Chapter 5, Miller focuses on the steps readers take to plan and organize their reading. Many times students have never done this, so we (as the adults) must model and guide students through this process. Modeling after Miller, our school accepts the 40 book challenge for Intermediate Students. At first  students are positive that it is not possible. One of my 5th graders actually told me, "I've never finished A book. I can't finish 40." In reality, the number 40 matters a whole lot less than the goal. Some of my students never made it to 40 books (66 of my 90 met their 40-book goal), but they did read 26 books, 30 books, 35 books in a single school year. They were so proud of themselves, and so was I. They set goals, they tracked their progress, and they made tremendous strides towards becoming life-long readers. As students finished books, they would record them on this Reading Log, along with a rating out of 5 stars. 
When conferring with students, we would often pull out this log, check their progress, and talk about any books they had finished since the last time we met. After Winter Break, we had a more formal reflection period as an entire class. Students took the time to look at the reading logs and complete this reflection form. They graphed their reading for the fall, set goals for the Spring, and told their classmates about their favorite read so far. We discussed how we've grown as readers, our favorite books, things that have surprised us about reading, and general observations. It was really neat to see how the kids' perception of a ‘reader’ has evolved. The entire conversation was so encouraging. 

Switching gears within this chapter, Miller also asks the question, "How can students' reading experiences, interests, and goals lead them to the next book, and then the next? How can unmotivated readers develop reading plans than build momentum and increase engagement?" She goes on to discuss that books in a series are a powerful tool for building "readers" in the classroom, and I completely agree! In my classroom, our Book Series shelves (see below) were the most visited. With books in a series, students are more confident because they are familiar with the characters, as well as the writer's style. While there may be many surprises within the plot, there is more predictability and safety for students. Plus, it is motivating for students to finish a book because they know another fabulous one awaits!
As you can see, we housed a lot of series and, many times, several copies of a series. My classroom library was the only library my 90 5th graders saw, so a single set of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or I Survived wouldn't cut it. Thankfully, Scholastic offers series for awesome prices and you can snag them with bonus points! Below are some of our favorite series from the year. The Lightning Thief and A Boy at War were more popular at the beginning of the year, while Alex Rider and The 39 Clues caught on in March-ish. My girls were loving The Secret Series and my struggling readers found a 'just-right' series in A Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries. As you start to build your libraries this year, I would definitely encourage you to check theses series out. They offer a great way to 'hook' students and naturally allow students to have a reading plan. Plus, series books are great for building a community of readers!
So, friends, how do your students make plans for their reading? How do you check-in throughout the year? I would love to hear about what works for you and your classroom! If you're a blogger, I'd love for you to link up your posts/ideas. If you're not a blogger, that's great, too! You can read/follow and comment. We want to hear your advice, thoughts, and ideas for the classroom, too. The more teachers we have joining, the more amazing our classrooms will be this fall! Next week, we will be reading Chapter 5: Wild Readers Show Preference.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing these forms! I'm following along with the book this summer (just not blogging about it) and have loved your posts. You're helping me with organizing a library, finding series and using all of these amazing ideas Donalyn has from the book.

    Thank you so much for sharing! I'm hanging on every post :)

    1. You made my day, Stacey! Thank you so much. :)

  2. I really like the forms you have created to help students keep track of their goals. Those are great series books to suggest to kids too! Thanks!

    Forever in Fifth Grade

  3. Thank you so much for the forms! I lost mine (from Proteacher) long ago via a flash drive conundrum and was going to have to sit down and make a new one. Yours is much better and perfectly organized. I appreciate it!

  4. Great post! Donalyn Miller has really inspired me as a reading teacher over the past few years. She is amazing!!

    Wild About Fifth

  5. I got to meet Donalyn Miller today at the Reading Summit in Houston. She sat right down beside me before she went on stage to do the keynote speech. We discussed this book and I told her about this book study. She was super excited about it! She said to wish everyone well, hopes her book helps to guide us to be better reading teachers, and would love to see all of you at her blog, nerdybookblog.com to share about the books we are reading. We were just chatting like old friends! Lol. She is great!

  6. Thank you for the freebies! They are both fabulous! I love how the book recording form includes the genres, and the reflection form includes the graph! What a great idea to have bookshelves devoted only to series!!!

  7. I love the idea of setting a 40-book challenge for the students! Thank you for the freebies. I can't wait to try this with my kids!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

  8. Thanks for the freebies - but I can't get the self-reflection one to open. I LOVE having students self-reflect on their independent reading. We use AR at our school. At the end of each trimester, I have the students reflect on their independent reading progress. I print out their student record and they reflect on things like fiction/nonfiction choice, length of book, reading level, quiz scores. Then they set goals for the next trimester. This year I printed out their whole-year report at the end of 5th grade and had them compare it to their whole-year report from 4th grade. They were really able to see their growth over a two year period. I was also warmed by their comments because so many of them said that they liked reading so much more this year and felt much freer to choose books - I'm a bit less restrictive than our 4th grade teachers about book choices. Thanks again for the freebies - and I love the book series recommendations.

    1. Sarah,

      I was having the same problem yesterday. I came back today and it still wouldn't open. I tried right-clicking the link and selecting "open link in new tab" and that seemed to work. I figured it's worth a try for you, too.

      Thanks for the great freebies, Catherine! I'm a new follower, and I've enjoyed all your posts so far, especially this book study. :)


    2. Thanks Nancy,
      Right-clicking worked!

  9. I have done the 40 book challenge for two years now and totally love it. I have to incorporate it with our AR program. I do have them take a test over each book and a short book talk to share with the class. If it isn't an AR book I still count it because my goal is for them to read, not necessarily get the most points. I can't believe how much this has helped my students make gains in their reading. The book talks are key for this is how they are able to share with others. Do you have any suggestions for a final year end reward, for those that reached 40 or went well above their goal, that is meaningful to the students? I convinced my principal to give Barnes & Noble gift cards this year, but probably won't be so lucky every year. I also have them receive a bead on a zipper pull for each book read and they keep that displayed all year, plus they keep track in their journal. According to my reading inventory at the end of the year they really do like keeping track of their reading, so they know how much they have read. If you have any other ideas for end of year reward let me know. Thanks.

  10. I read this book half chapters and its great helped him in my school study and also tell us how prepare your final exams thanks for share it statement of purpose writing service .


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