Whole Class Novels…What to do when a student is absent?

I don’t worry too much about make up work unless I think the student missed something that I deem really important. In my book, reading is really important (see what I did there?) and I want my students to make up reading they’ve missed. Here’s the simplest way I’ve found to keep track of who needs to make up their reading and reward the students who are present and participating during whole class reading. Another plus: it gives me another grade in the gradebook which I need because I don’t have that many grades. (When you’re really concerned with input and not that concerned with output, it leaves your gradebook looking a little slim) 

Print out this Reading Log  and make copies for your little darlings. (It’s in Spanish, if you teach a language other than Spanish let me know and I’ll happily share the editable file!)

We do our deal when we read as a whole class: sometimes I read to them and they translate chorally in English. Sometimes they read with a partner and I circulate, helping them with unfamiliar words. Sometimes I give them the choice: they can read with a partner or read in a small group with me. Then they take out their reading log and jot down quick summary of what they read. (I usually have them do it in English, but whatever floats your boat!) While students are summarizing, I circulate around the room stamping their summary to indicate that they were present and participating during the reading. (To tell you the truth, I don’t care about their summaries, it’s just something to keep them busy while I fly around the room with my stamp and stamp pad.)

Obviously, if a student is absent, they don’t get a stamp on their reading log. To get the stamp they missed they come in at lunch, read the novel and chat with me to prove their comprehension.  If they haven’t made it up before we read again, they simply leave the space blank they missed and fill in the following space for the day’s reading they are present for. You’ll see that the student below missed reading but copied in the pages he missed from his partner. Well-oiled machine, it is!

I collect their reading logs once they’ve filled in 5 spaces I collect it and put it in the grade book. I give them 5 points for each day we’ve read together. (So if we read 5 times, the reading log is worth 25 points. If a student was absent once and did not make up the reading, the score would be 20/25)  I let kids make up their reading anytime, even after I’ve entered the grades, because I want them to read! Reading is good for them!

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