Reading Log

Recording every book your child reads in a reading log is a great way of motivating your child to read more. They get a sense of achievement each time they finish a book and complete the log and also have a visual reminder of how many books they have read recently.

Perhaps it is encouragement enough for your child just to fill in the log, and maybe also receive a sticker, after completing each book. Or you could add a further incentive, such as giving them a reward after they have read a certain number of books.

You could use a reading log all year round, or introduce it just for the long summer vacation to avoid the "summer slide" when your child risks slipping behind in their reading if they don't keep practicing.

Below you will find some practical tips on how to set up your reading log, how to use it to promote book discussions and also some ideas of possible rewards you could give your child to incentivise them further.


It can be motivating to have a chart which you display prominently in your child's bedroom to remind them to keep reading, particularly for younger children. Completed charts can be kept together in a folder to provide a historical record of all the books your child has read. You can download the simple reading log which I use with my eight-year-old child and which is shown below here: Download reading log in US Letter format or in A4 format.

Reading Log

Older children may, however, prefer a notebook, particularly if they intend to write longer reviews of each book.

Book Details

There are various different details which you could record about each book in the log, such as:

  • Title and Author
  • Date started and date finished If you want to keep it simple you can just include the date finished. This may also be better if your child tends to start books without finishing them.
  • Number of pages This could be useful as your child starts to read longer books. Perhaps you consider a really long book as two books, for the purposes of receiving the reward, for example.
  • Genre For older children, think about recording the genre of the book, particularly if you are trying to encourage them to read more across different genres.
  • Rating Your child could give the book from one to five stars, for example, depending on how much they enjoyed it.
  • Review Older children might enjoy writing their own review of the book. However, if your child is not keen on this I would keep this section short, perhaps suggesting your child just writes three words which sum up their feelings for the book. Alternatively you can exclude this section altogether.
  • Book cover image It could be a nice idea to print out a small image of the book cover from the internet and stick it onto the reading log, to provide a visual reminder of the books read.
  • Reward Decide if you want to reward your child after they read a certain number of books, for example after ten books. If so, you could agree with your child what the reward will be before they start filling in the reading log and then include a description of the reward on the form.

Book Discussions

While your child is filling in the reading log, and particularly while they are rating the book, you have an ideal opportunity to talk to them about what they liked and didn't like about the book. Even if you decide not to include a written review on the form, still try and have a verbal discussion about the book. You could try asking open ended questions such as:

  • Which character changes most in the story?
  • Which character would you want to be your friend?
  • Using only eight words, what is the plot of this story?
  • Do you like the ending of the story? If not, how would you end the story?
  • What other books does this story make you think of?
  • What are you curious about at the end of the story?

These are taken from Reading Together book depository amazon by Diane Frankenstein which suggests thought-provoking questions for over 100 books to help you get conversations started with your child about books.


If you choose to reward your child after they read a certain number of books, agree on the reward together early on so that they know what they are working towards. I have decided to reward my son after he has read ten books and so our reading log chart has space for ten books to be recorded. We agree on the reward before starting a new chart and write down the details of the reward on the chart.

My preference is not to reward my children with TV - time spent in front of the television is time away from books. Here are a few ideas of possible rewards:

  • We can go to a book store to buy more books.
  • You can stay up late one Friday evening.
  • We can see a movie together related to a book you have read.
  • You can be let off chores for a day.
  • You can choose where we go one day this weekend.
  • I will cook you the meal of your choice including dessert.
  • You can have a friend sleep over.
  • We can have a family games night when you can choose the games.
  • We can go to your favourite restaurant.
  • I will donate money to a charity of your choice.

Checking Your Child Has Really Read A Book

If you are worried that your child may be so motivated by the reward that they are not reading the books properly or understanding them fully, you can try this little exercise.

  • Open the book they have just read at a random page.
  • Read aloud until your child can tell you what's going on.
  • Flip back and forward a page or two to make sure that they are right.
Surprisingly, it is not that hard to tell what is going on even if you haven't read the book.

Reading Logs for Younger Readers

For young children I love the idea of creating a "caterpillar" of books finished. Cut out circles of coloured paper. Decorate one to look like a caterpillar's face and then add circles for his body, one by one, each time your child finishes a book, writing the name of the book on the circle.

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