Creating live circuits: An exploration of Book Logs for upper elementary students

Helen Hope Holt, University of Pennsylvania


A response-based view of the role of children's literature in the elementary classroom has recently been brought to the attention of educators. Literature-based reading and whole language programs strongly encourage children to respond to the literature they read through writing. Recent research around literature-based reading instruction suggests that the challenge is to consider new understandings that will inform our thinking about children reading and writing about literature. This study explores upper elementary students' responses to literature in the context of Book Logs in order to better understand what these students chose to talk about and what they chose to make of this Book Log opportunity. In this study Book Logs are weekly journals in which students write about self-selected novels. In contrast to the traditional focus of response to literature research on researcher assigned texts and researcher constructed probes, this study employs a teacher-researcher perspective to study naturally occurring responses in the classroom in order to understand and to portray the educational intentions of the participants. Data for this study were the 825 entries or letters written by 25 students during the 33 weeks of the 1988-1989 school year. In addition, teacher writings, a variety of papers written for course requirements, lecture notes, and articles, which demonstrated my assumptions about the relationships in reading, writing, and language learning that informed my developing and emerging perspective as a teacher were used. Procedures included exploring the general contour of the 25 Book Logs and an in-depth analysis of 5 profiled students. The data demonstrated the Book Log activity revealed students as active readers and writers with unique thoughts, feelings, and opinions generated by quality children's literature. Implications from the data are suggested for (1) aesthetic teaching in the classroom, (2) the practitioner community, and (3) the researcher community.

Subject Area

Language arts|Literacy|Reading instruction|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Holt, Helen Hope, "Creating live circuits: An exploration of Book Logs for upper elementary students" (1993). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9403622.