Reading journals for kids can be a motivational way to extend the book a child is reading, as well as a great way to encourage critical thinking about books. Plus, reading journals for kids can also supplement a homeschool reading and language arts curriculum.
Note: A reading log is not the same as a journal. A reading log is a different kind of activity because you only list the title, author, and date plus the number of minutes you read, not the review. I loathe reading logs and do not recommend them. They really kill a child’s love of reading.
(Even when my children were assigned logs at school as homework, I refused to make them do it. My kids read; they didn’t need to waste time recording how many minutes.)
Using a journal for kids can be skill-building, because at least in my reading journal below, I’m asking children to summarize, synthesize, infer, analyze, compare and contrast, and more! They’ll have to show they’ve comprehended the book, too.
Please note that I disagree with assigning a reading list of books. I think the research shows it’s rarely beneficial to children because it takes away a reader’s choice which, in turn, decreases motivation.
However, since I have found in my years as a teacher and parent that choice is essential and motivating therefore I will share book lists of recommended and reviewed books to help kids find good choices.
I hope these journals spark new and fun reading adventures that keep your kids excited about reading.
Reading Journals for Kids
Imagination Soup’s Reading Journal for Kids (Who Love Books) by Melissa Taylor, illustrated by Alice Nainer
I truly believe this is the best of all the reading journals for kids. I intentionally designed this book to be the same size as a composition notebook (9.5 x 7.5) to give children plenty of space in which to write or draw. In addition, the design is kid-friendly, with cute animal characters and appealing colors.
Each two-page spread includes an activity page on the left with literacy-themed activities like a coloring page, word search, writing a letter to an author, or drawing the setting. The right side is a review page with wide-ruled lines. Lines are so important for growing writers and readers — especially wide-ruled because younger kids need that extra space. In addition, growing readers have a spot to record the date, title, author, stars, whether or not you recommend the book to someone, and your review, which includes a prompt to help you get started. Prompts include: What was the most interesting part of the book? Did you enjoy the book? Why or why not? What character was your favorite?
My Reading Adventures: A Book Journal for Kids by Anne Bogel
This reading journal is cute but pretty small (6 x 8″) and doesn’t have lines for writing which might be an issue for younger kids. With the small size and lack of lines, I think this one is better for older readers who can write small, probably 5th grade and up. The review page has a spot to check how you can feel, a favorite quote, the best part, marking if it’s fiction or nonfiction, your emoji rating, when you read it, your pace reading it, and a favorite character. In addition, some pages have a topic or genre reading list.
Book Worm Reading Log for Kids and their Parents
This is the second-best book on this list because it’s so kid-friendly. Every two-page spread you complete, tear off the bottom right corner’s green leaf– as if you were a bookworm eating the pages. How cute is that? The pages are green and white, with activities on one side, like vocabulary words or drawing a scene and a spot to review on the other side. The review includes stars for both kid ratings and parent ratings as well as if you read the book by yourself, listened and read, or listened, plus a review spot.
For the Love of Books
From Paper Peony Press, this is a hardback journal with a mid-century modern color palette and design which isn’t be very appealing to children. We’re talking pastels and muted colors. Weird choice! The book review spreads include a spot to check if it’s fiction or non-fiction, if you liked the ending, your favorite character, if you read the book by yourself or with someone, favorite quotes, drawing a favorite character or scene, and what you would ask the author.
My Reading Log Book Review Journal for Kids by Caterpillar Curl
This 8.5 x 11 reading journal has monthly pages for writing down the book information, but the spaces are still minuscule despite the full-sized paper. The months also have a tracker you can color in. After that are book review pages with spaces for a book summary, a list of main characters, your thoughts, and stars. The end of the book has pages for quotes and facts.