Love it AND List it! The Benefits of a Reading Log for Kids

By Tori Hamilton, Children's Library Associate, Glenpool Library

Are you one of those avid readers who keeps a carefully curated reading log on GoodReads, LibraryThing, or the library's own Bibliocommons? Maybe you enjoy hearing about new books and adding them to your "Want to Read" list, or you get a secret thrill from marking yet another title as "completed." Such are the simple joys of a lifelong reader! 

But do you keep track of which books you've read to your children? If not, now might be the time to start.

It saves time. I promise. "Oh, please!" you might be thinking. "Not another thing to keep track of!" Between play dates, doctor appointments, and dance classes, your child's activities already take up enough of your brain space. But if you keep a running list of which books you've read together, when they ask you for "the book with the bunny" two months down the line, you won't have to wrack your brain trying to remember which one!

It makes gift-giving easier. When friends or family want to know what to give your child for Christmas or birthdays, share a few favorite titles from the list. Your loved ones will have a good starting point for a librarian or bookseller to use for recommending something similar. 

The list can be motivating. As your children grow and begin to read more on their own, they might like to track their books themselves. Competitive children enjoy the thrill of marking titles "completed" just as much as some adults.

Your child will thank you for it later. It happens all the time in the library: a patron comes in and says, "I'm looking for a book I vaguely remember from childhood." They might only remember what the cover looked like, or a sketchy summary of the plot. Librarians have a lot of tools available for situations like these, but sometimes we're just not able to help!

It's easy! You can make a shelf on your GoodReads account for your child's books, or create a library Bibliocommons account with your child's library card. You can keep your list in a simple Word document or on paper in a notebook or journal. You don't have to write a thorough review for every book your child reads (or that you read to them). All you need is the title and author. If you're feeling motivated, you can add a few lines about why your child liked the book or include the date you read it together for the first time, but those things aren't necessary.

You don't have to track your child's reading forever, nor do you have to track every book, but when you come across a title that your child enjoys and wants to hear every night for weeks at a time, write it down. You may think you'll remember it later, that after the twentieth time the words will be eternally etched in your brain, but children grow up fast, and their precious activities do take up a lot of brain space.

Before you know it, you'll be looking back on "the book with the bunny" with a fond sense of wistfulness. Wouldn't it be nice if you and your child both knew what it was called?

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