45 Printable Reading Log Templates (Word – Excel)

A Reading Log Template is a simple way of documenting an individual’s reading activities, notes, and thoughts on what they have read.

A reading log is similar to a diary or a journal as it helps you record what you have read so far, how many pages you have read, and your experience and views after reading.

Reasons of Keeping a Reading Log

There are several reasons you should consider keeping a reading log, from capturing your thoughts about the books you have read, noting down the different messages you draw from each book, and keeping track of the different storylines.

A reading log is a handy tool that everyone should consider having. A reading log also helps remind students to read and encourages them to note down everything they have read. Teachers and parents also use it to show students the books they have read and encourage them to read more. Other significant benefits of using a reading log include:

Overcoming the forgetting curve

The benefits of reading are usually negated if you do not remember what you have read. However, studies have shown that most people tend to forget nearly everything they have read within 24 hours, a reading log can come in handy and help you to have a better chance of overcoming the forgetting curve.

Although noting down everything you have read or the key things to remember may not directly improve your memory, it will help you keep track of the books you have read and make it easy to revisit that information anytime you need to.

Maintaining a list of useful books

It is common for people who love to read books to ask for books. As an avid reader, you may probably get this question many times from your friends, family, or colleagues. To ensure that you always have a list of books to recommend to them, it is recommended that you note down the titles of each book you read and include a brief overview of what the publication is all about as it will help you remember and give the proper recommendations.

Evolving your worldview

Reading enhances how you view the world. From reading different books written by different people, from different parts of the world, you understand different cultures, opinions, and perspectives of life and livelihoods. Recording different books you read on your reading log will help you retrace the different stories, values, and messages you value from the different books you have managed to read.

Passing on to kids

A book log is an excellent way of motivating your kids to read more books and become avid book readers like you. Whether you are looking to give your kids a must-read list of books or simply to have them read some of the information you have found helpful over your reading period, you can use a reading log to do so.

Citing sources for a book

Citing a book, quote, or any other formal publication gives credit to what you are talking about. Whether you are writing a book, giving a speech, or writing a blog post, quoting your sources can help show your audience that you have done some due diligence and are familiar with related topics.

In addition, noting down important points to remember or specific quotes that you would like to use in the future can help you remember them easily and incorporate them in your writing or speech.

Related: 8+ Free Book Cover Templates for Word & PDF

How to Take a Reading Log

There are two main reasons for using a reading log template: formal school assignments and personal/private use.

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of how you should use a reading log template in either case:

Reading log for school

If you are using the reading log template for formal school assignments, here are some of the things that you should do:

Review assignment

When keeping a reading log for your formal classroom assignments, it is vital that you only include the critical information required for each assignment. Make sure to go through the assignment requirements carefully and ask for clarifications from your teachers before noting down the details on your reading log. Some of the information that you should consider including in your reading log include:

  • The title of the book
  • The title of the assignment
  • The author or volume of the book
  • The dates you read each page
  • The amount of time you spend reading
  • Major characters and plot development
  • Questions you may have as you read

Design reading log template

Although we recommend you use our ready-to-use reading log templates, you can still create or design one from scratch using your notebook or computer software such as MS Word. First, create or design a template with all the essential components you would like to have in the reading log. Ensure that you allocate enough space for each item you include in the reading log.

Here are some more free samples for you:

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    Enter all reading assignments

    Note down all the reading assignments, including academic reading, poems, books, and other materials that you have been given by your teachers, making sure to include the information about the book, author, and the duration of the assignment.

    Read slowly and carefully

    When you have been assigned some reading assignments, you must take your time to go through each assignment keenly, pay attention to key details, and note down all the critical information you garner while reading. For example, note down the central theme of what you are reading, the characters, and character development, and also make sure to write down any questions that you may have while reading.

    Read your assigned texts

    If your teachers have assigned you a task, you must understand what the assignment is all about to do it well. For example, although you may sometimes be given a general assignment such as completing three books by a certain period, it is still essential to understand the type of books you would be reading, the content to look for when reading, and the areas to note down reading.

    Other times you may be assigned specific assignments with specific goals and objectives; ensure to allocate enough time to complete all your assignments, and don’t forget to note down everything you read.

    Record bibliographical information

    In most academic assignments, you will be required to provide a complete bibliographical citation for your work. Make sure to note down the biographical information for each book, especially if it is an E-book.

    Here is a breakdown of the bibliographical information you should include in your reading log template, the author’s name, the title of the book, the publication dates, the publisher’s address, and any other identifying information such as co-authors, editions, etc.

    Write factual details

    When you have been given an academic reading assignment, in most cases, you will be required to provide facts on what you have read.

    To help you keep track of what you have read and the facts, consider noting down the following in your reading log:

    • Plot elements
    • Character names
    • Setting

    You may also include other vital elements such as the plot development, the theme, arguments, etc.

    Copy essential messages to the log

    Most formal reading assignments usually require identifying specific passages or quotations significant to certain questions and worthy of further analysis. Therefore, when reading a book, make sure to note down any phrase, quote, or passage that you find to be intriguing, mysterious, or confusing.  

    Write your questions

    Writing down questions that you may have while reading a book or any other publication is important as it helps you grasp the content much faster as you try to get answers to those questions. Writing the right questions can also help prove to your teachers that you read the book you were assigned to read.  

    Note personal thoughts

    Reading is all about connecting with what other people think, feel, believe, or do. So, when you read a book, note down your thoughts as they will help you understand the book even further, and you can easily remember what you read in the book by going through some of the thoughts you wrote down in your reading log.

    Use your observations to make analytical claims

    Connecting your personal experiences with what you read in a book is a great way to understand what it is all about and analyze the book more critically. Note down some of the things you love about each book you read and relate them to what you felt when reading the book.  

    Relate your reading with academic work

    If you have been given a formal reading assignment, chances are, what you are reading is related to other topics or literature work. Therefore, as you read your assigned work, make sure to think of how such books or publications are related to other academic work in your class.

    Write formal journal entries

    Some reading assignments may require that you write formal journal entries. Journal entries require that you write complete sentences and paragraphs highlighting what you have read and provided an in-depth view.

    Focus on long-term development

    A reading log is an excellent way of tracking your reading progress. By noting down the different things, you learn how much you have improved your reading ability and reading time, you will see how far you have come and how you are progressing.

    Steps to Create Personal Reading Log

    The second reason for keeping a reading log is for personal use. Most people who are fond of reading usually keep a reading log template to help them remember the different chapters, flow, and theme of the book. Just like when keeping a reading log for school, there are several things that you should consider when using a reading log for personal use.

    Following are a few steps to create your personal reading log:

    Design a reading log template

    Start by choosing or designing a reading log template with all the entries you may want to use while reading your books. You may choose to download a pre-made reading log template or craft one from scratch using software such as MS Word.

    For this purpose, the following are some free reading log templates:

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    free online reading log template 03

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      Read actively and slowly

      The best way to read any book or publication is to read actively, noting down everything you learn as you read. Some of the things that you should consider noting down in your reading log include:

      • The styles
      • Genre
      • Theme
      • Publication
      • Book titles

      To ensure that you remain an active reader, consider doing the following:

      • Set some time to read every day
      • Limit your screen time and resolve to read
      • Go for books you enjoy reading
      • Get recommendations for books to read from your friends, family, or colleagues who are active readers

      Write bibliographical information

      The best way to remember each book you read is by noting down important information about each book. For each book, note down the author’s name, title, the year of publication, and the publisher’s name. You may also include the volume, co-authors, and the publisher’s city. This information will help you remember the book and help you recommend it to your friends.

      Include the date when you read

      The best way to keep track of your reading performance is to note down the dates when you read. This is especially important if you are reading several books at once. By noting down the dates, you may review them later to see how the information you obtained from such books has helped you out in your life.

      Write page number for your favorite passage

      When reading a book, you will always find phrases, quotes, passages that you would like to remember, quote, or use in your publications or speech; make sure to note down the different pages with a hint on what that page contains to help you trace it in much more manageable way.

      Take notes

      As you read a book, article, blog, or any other publication, you will always find essential information to note down. Although you may not be able to note down every piece of information you get, make sure to note down those that you don’t want to forget.

      Reflect on the book

      After reading each book, you must reflect on each book and understand its meaning and significance. Review the information you obtained from reading the book, how your thoughts shifted while reading, and some of your favorite aspects. Note down everything immediately after reading the book since the ideas will still be fresh in your mind to preserve these reflections.

      Reread your log

      After compiling your log, make sure to go through it to see if there is any vital information that you may have left out or any changes you would like to make to the log. Reading your log will help you understand how your taste has grown over time and how the books you read are impacting your daily life.

      Note: Using a reading log can encourage you to read more books as you track your progress. However, not everyone conforms to the idea of writing down everything they read.

      If you find a reading log to be a distraction for you, it is recommended that you discontinue the use of a reading log. On the other hand, if you choose to use a reading log, keep a backup copy, primarily documenting your reading log on a computer.  

      Reading Log Template

      With multiple benefits of reading logs, having one that is readily available, easy to customize, and above all, free to download is something that you should consider when looking for a reading log.

      Below we have provided free reading log templates that you can download and use at your convenience. The templates are professionally designed to help you record your best experiences, list some of your favorite books and messages you would like to remember each time you review your reading log.

      So download now and get started on documenting your reading experiences:

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        Tips for a Using Reading Log

        Here are some tips that you should consider when using a reading log template:

        • When documenting your reading experience in your reading log, don’t get caught up in writing a perfect prose. Instead, use simple words to help you understand what you are reading to help you avoid wasting time and remaining focused.
        • Reading logs can help you become an agile reader. However, it may only work if you are consistent in reading and writing down the important things you learn while reading different publications.
        • When reading, make sure to note down essential items immediately when the information is still fresh in your mind.


        Reading log templates are used for various reasons; from helping students reflect on specific skills or strategies to providing teachers, parents, and guardians with a means of monitoring their kid’s progress at school and home, a reading log template is a must-have item.

        For agile readers, a reading log template is an excellent way of documenting the experiences they get while reading different books, noting down important information, quotes, and passages that they may later use in their speech or other publications.

        Regardless of the reason for using a reading log, one thing that cuts across is consistency. If you are not consistent in using your reading log, you may not track your progress and remember critical information you get from each book.

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