I encourage my students to read 20 minutes each night. In the past, I have had students fill out a reading calendar. Yes, it was easy for me to see if the students had been reading or not, but it did not give me a chance to hold my students accountable for their reading. At the end of last year, I felt that a lot of my students were being dishonest about the amount of reading they had been doing at home.
This year I implemented at home reading notebooks. Each week, my students are responsible for writing me a letter about what they have been reading on their own time. This is one way for me to see WHAT the students are reading and IF they are comprehending it. I really enjoy reading and responding to my students journals. Yes, it is a lot to manage and a lot of writing, but I feel like it is worth it. This is also a place for me to suggest new books for students to read and a place for students to work on their writing.
I stapled a list of writing topics on the top of the page that students could write about. Here are the forms that my students have in their journals. My students liked the choice of what they could write about. It was nice to have my students branch out and try new things instead of ALWAYS writing a summary of what they read.
I am planning on creating a rubric to grade my students on for next year. I am hoping to continue to add and improve upon these reading notebooks.
Hopefully this post inspires you to try this in your classroom!