Waterboarding, Reading Logs and Other Forms of Torture


Those are my initials. I must write them a dozen times a day. Between signing planners, permission slips, and various pieces of paper sent home from various schools, I feel like I need a rubber stamp.  Nothing, though, gives me fits like reading logs. You know what those are if you have kids. They are idiotic papers that must be filled out every night stating which book you read with your child, how long, and then–of course–your initials.

I read with my children every single night. There is no way I could get away with not reading to them. At the merest suggestion of not reading a book there are wild protestations and much writhing on the ground. So it’s getting done. Which is the entire point of doing a reading log.  But by the end of the day I have had it. If I don’t kill anyone by 9 pm my day has been a success. After driving eighty places, making snacks, making dinner, cleaning up after dinner, bossing kids about chores, helping with homework, fixing the printer because it’s freaking out again, brushing teeth and breaking up fights about whose turn it is for the wii/trampoline/computer/playing with the cat, I’m done. Done, done, done.  I am not getting out a bunch of folders and filling out author’s names and how many minutes we read.

I finally went to the first grade teacher and said, “I’m sorry but I’m not doing the reading log anymore. I hope this won’t affect Ada’s grade but it’s just not happening. It’s the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back.”

The poor, sweet teacher barely knew what to say. It’s not every day that a parent just comes right out and says no to your face.

She claimed to understand.

“Oh, Mrs. W?” she said as I was turning to walk out the door. “Don’t forget to initial her homework binder and this week’s form saying you saw all of the class announcements.”

I wonder if she heard me shrieking as I ran from the school.

15 thoughts on “Waterboarding, Reading Logs and Other Forms of Torture

  1. I am with you 100% on this. I HATE reading logs. I have 4 kids in Elementary school and I am SICK of it. All my kids are way above grade level in reading, so I think the reading logs are beyond stupid. Maybe we should start a petition to ban reading logs…..

  2. I usually just put “Book of Mormon” each day and inital…all at the beginning of the week. If I happen to remember a different book we read the week before, I put that down too! I’m over ALL the signing of papers!

  3. Ha ha! I can still remember when my mom wrote my teacher back and said she wasn’t doing parent/teacher conferences anymore. I didn’t know you could do that!

  4. I just laughed out loud. Idiot teacher.

    When I got into high school, my dad pulled me aside and said, “Practice my signature and start using it. I am sick of signing things. You are old enough to do it yourself.” So class disclosures, waivers, permission slips, attendance notes etc were signed by me. I loved that my dad didn’t care anymore. Maybe consider that?

  5. I make my kids fill out their own reading log–and i just have to sign it after they hit 20.

    My kid’s school just sent home a big blah blah blah on attendance and wanted it signed. I guess to make sure that I read it. Well I read it–actually I partially read it, then I didn’t sign it. Because they are annoying. I know the attendance policy. I want to punch our principal in the face.

  6. Amen. I love how they look at you when you tell them that. So confused. Baffled.
    I think the IDEA was it would make kids accountable, but all it does is shift the burden to the adult. No wonder all teachers think it’s the parents fault the kids aren’t learning…

  7. Great post! Our 5th and final kid is in 4th Grade now, and we have gotten pretty calloused. Last year we had a crazy busy week, and wrote a note to the teacher that my son wouldn’t be submitting his homework packet that week. She wrote back that it might impact his grade, we said “that’s OK with us – most colleges don’t look back to 3rd grade transcripts.”
    We waited for child services to show up at our door. Fortunately, they never came.

  8. You’re singing my song. Last year (in a state of low blood sugar) I sent the teacher a note letting her know that signing everyday and then again at the end of the week was not only redundant but inane. I would sign it once a week, no more.

    Don’t even get me started about the “Homework Contract”…….

  9. Amen and amen. My daughter who’s now in 2nd grade pretty much never did any of her kindergarten homework unless her older sister happened to help her or she did it on her own–and guess what? No harm came of it. I’ve given my 6th and 9th graders permission to sign things for me as long as they let me me know about any big upcoming projects. And we’ll have to see whether I manage to help my current kindergartner do any homework. So far we’ve filled in only about half the days on his monthly reading chart, but he’s asking me every day how to spell things so I know what he’s learning at school is clicking for him.

    The truth is I don’t believe in homework, which makes things awkward, but that’s just how it is.

  10. That’s it! I’m getting a stamp! Oh wait, no I’m not….I refused to sign them last year and they just flunked them for homework…flunked a first grader for not turning in homework because I didn’t/wouldn’t/refused to sign those irritating reading logs! UGH. And the 4th grader’s teacher just ‘signed’ them herself after protests “my mom WON’T sign them! And she makes me read double or triple the 30 minute minimum every night!!” Yes, yes I do. I can’t stand the cat fights, the arguments, the “I forgot to do my chores” so I ‘punish’ them with silent reading! The horror! I’m such a mean mom!

    I’m SERIOUSLY printing this post and giving an Elementary wide handout to every teacher/principal/staff member who can read English!!!!!

  11. Wow! As a 4th/5th grade teacher, I must say this was quite eye-opening. All of the comments, just wow! I didn’t realize parents hate them so much. I’ll take the part for parent signature off….
    And just for the record, if your kid is reading, he/she is not the kid we’re targeting, its the other 29 kids in the class who won’t read unless you make them.
    Also, I’m the mom of 4, I signed all of the reading logs too!

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