Reading for Sport

Reading for Sport - How Keeping a Reading Log Can Help Your Child {Danika Cooley at Thinking Kids}“What am I going to do to make books exciting for my son?”  I asked myself.

“Better to ask,” came the sleepy reply, “how you plan to solve this dilemma at 1am.”

Unfortunately for the sleepy side of my brain, there was no more sleep that night.

Eureka!  I found a solution to our family’s reading woes.  Perhaps it will be helpful to yours as well.

For some reason, the question of reading was particularly pressing one particular starless night.  In desperation, I switched on the light and picked up the September 2010 issue of OCEANetwork Waves, Oregon’s Christian Home Education Association Network Magazine.  There I found an article, “Advice from a Bibliophile”, by Kate Karman.

Ms. Karman suggested three things:

  1. Read Old Books
  2. Read Whole Books (unabbridged)
  3. Keep a List of What You Read

Bingo!  “Self,” I said, “if we can keep sports stats, then we can keep reading stats!”

The next morning, I presented our new plan to my skeptical boys, complete with individually labeled notebooks.  I’ve found that enthusiasm is key for any venture involving the male gender.

“Boys!  We’re going to play the book game! (They love games.)  We’re going to write down every book you read, the author and the date.  You’ll have it forever and ever, and you can show it to your great-grandchildren!  (The boys are excited about showing everything to their great-grandchildren.)  I’m going to do it too!  (In our house, success is nearly guaranteed by parental participation.)  This is a game you play with yourself… there’s no competition with anyone else.”

Thus began our book game.  Two months and four college-ruled pages later (each), the boys are still in love with the book game.  We list the date completed, the title and the author.  With a little encouragement from the guys, we’ve expanded the list to include non-fiction, older picture books, magazines (they must read the whole magazine, though), read-aloud books (marked with RA) and school books.

It has become a record of sorts of their homeschool journey.  I appreciate being able to look back and see what they’ve accomplished (what a joy to realize we’d read 19 books of the Old Testament this fall!).  They love having their reading stats recorded for posterity.  Now that’s what I call a winning score.


Update {6/3/13}:  We’ve been keeping our book game logs for more than two years and the boys still love looking back at what they’ve read.  I love seeing their development.  I hear we’re going to save them to show to my great-grandkids!

~ Danika Cooley

Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr. and Thriving Family; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.


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