A year ago, I shared a digital reading notebook that I would be using with my 7th graders as I prepared for a year of pandemic teaching. The work we normally did by hand would need to find a home digitally as I had no idea just how long I would be teaching virtually, and so I created a collection of tools for students to use in order to continue our work furthering and centering their identity as readers, even as we were far apart.
Now a year later, I was asked whether I would be using the tool with my students again or whether it had been changed, and this post is the answer.
I did update the tool in September of last year as students started using it to streamline it a bit. Here is the updated version. It streamlined some of the pages and cut down the size a bit which helped a lot. I still love the tool, just wish there was a way to use it without it clogging down their computers.
So as of right now, because let’s face it things change all of the time, I will not be using the digital tool in this iteration again, for a few reasons, but the main one being that I am (right now anyway) scheduled to be in person fully with my 7th graders. This means that instead of having a digital tool like this, we can create sections in our notebooks for this work that they can can be shared when needed. This has in the past been easier for students rather than needing to log onto their chromebooks, then wait for the tool to load, then get to the right page etc. Another reason for stepping back to paper is because scrolling through the tool on chromebooks was unwieldy and slowed down our work. Many students wanted to do the work but their computers froze trying to open it up.
However, the work within the pages will still be going on in 7th grade. Everything within this notebook is important to the work we do as we dive into our reading identities and how the emotions and experiences we carry surrounding that shapes the decisions we make with our reading lives. I will just go back to stand alone forms, gathered in their notebooks or in my binder depending on the purpose of it, to do the work.
So where can you find some of these forms as a stand alone form? Their to-be-read list is just the first few pages in their notebook, they write down author, title, and genre so that they can find the book later. I usually have them set aside 4 pages for this. Others can be found via the links below.
The beginning of the year reading survey here can be found here
The initial reading goal and reflection sheet can be found here.
The work surrounding “Who Am I as a reader” can be found here. (Google Slides or paper copy)
While these first few surveys and goal exercises are just the beginning, they provide me with an invitation into a conversation even if they don’t write much because if a child writes “IDK” for most answers, that tells me something about them as a reader, if a child doesn’t want to share anything that tells me something about them as a reader.
As I dream about the school year to come, I am excited to continue our work surrounding reading identity and hopefully help students protect or cement a positive relationship to reading. I have seen the difference this work does, I have seen it impact kids in thoughtful ways as they start to understand and work with the experiences they have had as a readers and chart new courses. Not just because of these forms or the survey questions I ask, but because of the conversations and subsequent actions that they lead to.
To see more about the reading conferring I do with students, please see this post.
I am excited to be heading out on the road again to be with other educators in-district or at conferences, while continuing my virtual consulting and speaking as well. If you would like me to be a part of your professional development, please reach out. I am here to help.
3 thoughts on “One Year Later: My Digital Reading Notebook”
Thanks for all of your great resources. I am a librarian in a public library system and would like to suggest you look into the Beanstack app. Anyone can use the app to track books and reading sessions and write reviews. If your public library is a subscriber, families/classes can complete reading challenges, see what friends are logging (if they want to), gain streaks and achievements and if the library offers – win prizes. You can also subscribe as a school, but I would check with your public library first, as we are always trying to connect with students and teachers.
Thank you, Pernille, for going back to paper! I have been waffling on whether to use paper or go digital. The majority of my students prefer actual paper copies, so I’m going with paper with the caveat that kids who prefer digital can utilize a digital copy (at this point in time).
There’s nothing quite like a tangible paper notebook.