Reading Non Fiction for Research – can I count it as reading?

imagesI have been so proud of my reading this summer. I am keeping track. I am reading several fiction books each week. Good for me but I realize I am reading so much more. I have been researching about plants, gardens and reading nature phenology books for some writing I am doing.

I almost don’t think of that as reading. When I am researching I am reading but often do not read a book from cover to cover but I am still reading. I record that reading with my research notes but I don’t count that in my over all reading. Why not?

This last week I read parts – actually big chunks from each of these booksaclk

  • The Forest Unseen by Haskell
  • Jim Gilbert’s Nature Notebook by Gilbert
  • The Wild Garden by William Robinson

I also read from about 20 different web sites about plants and the environment. When you think about it I was reading almost all week. As an adult you might say that is no big deal but if I was a student especially one in elementary school it would indeed be a big deal. It is a lot of reading.

It made me think about the reading logs that I have students do each year. I am always good are having them record the class read aloud, their literature circle books, their home reading but when it comes to recording the non fiction reading it often gets lost in the shuffle of things.

  • How do you record a research  book when you have only read part of it? (Number of pages?)
  • What about web sites?  sometime we are reading lots on a site other times we might  read a few bits and pieces and move on – do we record number of sites visited?

All this thinking really starts at why do we record the books we read anyway?  What is the value of a book log? There is a value as a teacher or parent to see what and how much your student is reading but what is the value for the student?

Reasons for students to have book logs are:

  •  for students to see what they are reading
  • to see how much they are reading or how little they are reading
  • to begin to understand their likes and dislikes in reading –
  • what genres they read often or not at all

If indeed I am using book logs to help students see their progress in reading than I need to also help them see that they are reading all the time. I need to take a few minutes each week to have them record where they are reading in other places. Maybe at the end of the week they have a reading variety box on their log or book journal. In this box they can record all the places and topics they have read during the week. It might be a short and sweet way to capture the extent of our reading.

  • Newspapers,
  • Magazines,
  • non fiction books,
  • web sites,
  • brochures on a specific topic.

Think about it!  Do you have your students record all their reading? Do you record all your reading?

Please share your ideas and how you and your students capture ALL their reading?




About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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