Minimalist reading tracker template (free printable)

Minimalist reading tracker template (free printable)

I am so excited to share with you the ultimate reading tracker template! Actually, it’s a bundle of seven templates that you can customize to fit your needs. 

I went with a clean, minimalist design, and every template comes in a full-color AND black-and-white version to suit your preference. I even have a tracker for kids and students in school.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you exactly how to use each of the seven templates. So, click the image below to download your free printables right now. 

What is a reading tracker template?

It’s a form that helps you keep track of certain details about your reading life. What does it track? Well, it can track a few different things. As readers, we like to track…

  • The titles of the books we’ve read over a period of time
  • Basic details about the books we’ve read, such as author, genre, likes/dislikes
  • The time we’ve spent reading or the number of days we’ve read in a row (a.k.a. a reading streak)
  • Progress toward a reading challenge

Why track your reading?

  • To form a reading habit
  • To keep track of the numbers you’re most interested in (# of books, # of pages, # of minutes)
  • To remember what you’ve read (so you don’t get halfway through a book and then realize you’ve already read it. Not that I’ve EVER done that before!)

The good news is that this bundle of reading tracker templates is simple, customizable, and printable. (I’m not one for reading spreadsheets—they make me cross-eyed. Plus, Goodreads and Storygraph have great visual analytics that you can access for free, so there’s no real need for a digital product to keep track of books.)

Now, for the instructions!

Reading Time Tracker (for adults)

Why use it? To keep track of how many days you’ve read in a row. But, you can also modify this template to ALSO track:

  • How many minutes you’ve read
  • How many pages you’ve read

How to use the Reading Time Tracker template

Below the title, you can jot down the date you started this tracker. 

Just below that, you’ll see the sentence: “I can ✓ the box if I read for ___ minutes.” Fill in the blank. What’s the minimum number of reading minutes that you want to track? Five minutes? Ten? As long as you pass the minimum, it “counts.”

In the top left-hand pink box, write the week you’re tracking. There are seven yellow boxes to the right, one for each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday. Put a checkmark in today’s box if you read for the minimum number of minutes.

Instead of a checkmark, you can write the actual number of minutes that you read for, such as 30 or 90 minutes. That way, you can tally up the minutes and see how much reading time you accumulated. (Both options are pictured in the photos.)

You can also do this with pages, if that’s more interesting to you. In the box, write the number of pages you read that day. Then, tally away!

My Reading Log (for kids and students)

Why use it? To keep track of your child’s reading progress and build strong reading habits. Teachers sometimes require this for summer reading or independent reading. If you homeschool, this is a handy tracker that you can print and use however you wish.

How to use the My Reading Log template

It’s as simple as filling in the blank areas that the teacher requires (or that matter to your student). It can be very motivating for a child to realize that they’ve read hundreds—or even thousands—of pages. If you’ve got a numbers-oriented kid (like I do) this can quite possibly take their love of reading to the next level—by adding numbers. 

Keeping track of book titles comes in handy when you say, “No, you haven’t read this one,” and your kid insists, “Yes I did!!”

My Year in Books

Why use it? To keep track of the total number of books you’ve read in a year. 

How to use the My Year in Books template

This simple, handy tracker is about as easy and minimalist as it gets. Read a book in January, and put a star in a box next to the month of January. 

At the end of the year, tally up how many books you’ve read, and write it in the Notes section at the top. You can compare how many books you read this year to last year. Or, you can use the Notes box to write down your reading goals, such as “50 books this year” or “a minimum of two books per month.”

There are enough boxes for 84 books. I know that some of you read way more than that, but you are magical unicorns of Booklandia and cannot be contained by minimalist reading tracker templates. Please, tell me all your secrets!

Starting in the middle of the year? No problem. In the left-hand box that says, “For the year of” write down the range, such as 2022–23. Start with the current month, and when you get to December, go back to the top and start with January (and make a note that it’s the new calendar year). 

Reading Challenge

Why use it? To keep track of your current reading challenge. Reading challenges are often designed to get people out of their comfort zones and introduce them to new books and authors. This tracker lets you list all the challenge categories, the book you picked for each category, and whether or not you’ve read it yet. 

How to use the Reading Challenge template

In the Category column, write the specific challenge. If you’re following a challenge for a book club, then chances are the categories are chosen for you. They usually look something like this:

  • A book by a new-to-me author
  • A classic I’ve been wanting to read
  • Set in a different country
  • Set at least 100 years in the past
  • Book 1 in a YA series

In the Book/Author column, write the book (and its author) that you selected to fulfill that challenge item. In the checkmark box on the far right, put a check—or any symbol that you like—to indicate you’ve finished that book.

I don’t have a reading tracker template for an X-by-X reading challenge, but if you’re interested in that, let me know in the comments!

My Book Log (Simple)

Why use it? To keep track of the books you’ve read. Period! 

This is for avid readers who want to keep a spectacularly uncomplicated book list. It’s also a great place to start if this is your first time tracking your reading. Why make it hard? This is as easy as it gets, and it’s a space-saving way to keep track of a lot of books.

How to use the My Book Log template

Just below the title, jot down the date you started this log. Then, it’s as simple as filling out the basic information about each book as you finish it. When you’ve filled the page, print a fresh tracker page, and keep going!

This is a fluff-free, no frills log. Just the book titles, author names, and date finished. What more do you want to know, anyway?

Well…some of us want to track a teensy bit more info than just that. If that’s you, then you’ll love the next template. 👇

My Book Log (With Notes)

Why use it? To keep track of the books you’ve read—with space to jot down a few notes about each one. One quick glance, and you can get a snapshot of your reading life. 

How to use the My Book Log (With Notes) template

Just below the title, write the date you started this log. Then, as you finish each book, fill out the basic information. Directly below is a box for notes. This is where you can write any tidbits that are important to you or that you don’t want to forget, such as:

  • Your star rating
  • Genre
  • Basic plot/character notes to jog your memory later
  • Format: Did you read a paper copy or listen on audio?
  • Whether or not you own the book and where (hard copy or Kindle?)

This is still a highly streamlined book tracker template, and it’s super-easy to use. And (blessedly) it requires nearly no effort on your part. 

Book Journal (With Prompts)

Please note that this journal page doesn’t have a formal title printed at the top.

Why use it? To quickly and easily journal about the specific books you’ve read. Think of it as a book review template or a reading journal template. 

Reflecting on what you’ve read is a fabulous practice to get into. It does require a chunk of time and some mental effort, but it helps you to make a true connection to what you’ve read. And without that, what’s the point of having read, really? 

For me, when I take the time to journal about a book, I bond with it—even if I didn’t like it or disagreed with it!

How to use the Book Journal (With Prompts) template

In the big box at the top, write the book title. 

In the next box down, fill out the basic information. The one item that might confuse you is “Format.” That means, “How did you read this? Was it a hard copy, ebook, or audiobook?” You may also want to indicate if you own the book, borrowed it from a friend, or got it from the library. 

On the left-hand side, you’ll see the rating rows, each with five boxes below. Those boxes are for your star rating, 1 through 5. Here’s a breakdown of each: 

  • Plot: How would you rate the plot? Did it keep your attention? 
  • Character: Were the characters lovable, believable, and well-drawn? 
  • Craft: How would you rate the writing? Was it easy to read? Beautiful to read? Or was it just meh?
  • Pacing (slow to fast): How quickly did you move through the book? Some books are designed to be slow and meandering. Others are so fat-free and tight that you zip through with zero resistance.

Just below that are two boxes for you to write notes on the book’s major themes and the mood. 

  • Themes: What is this book about? Coming of age? Found family? Forgiveness? You can also take note of any strong tropes, such as the chosen one, enemies to lovers, etc.
  • Mood: List adjectives that describe how the book made you feel. What was the book’s atmosphere? Examples: Dark, funny, lighthearted, adventurous, emotional, etc.

On the left-hand side are areas where you can write what you liked most about the book and also what you didn’t like. I find this one of the easiest ways to journal about what I’ve read. It doesn’t ask you to be an English major. And it helps you to develop your taste in books. Over time, you’ll realize, “Hey, I love dystopian dramas.” Or, “Wow. I’ve hated every sci-fi book I’ve tried this year.” Patterns will emerge, and you’ll notice some neat things about yourself.

Book Journal (Blank)

Please note that this journal page doesn’t have a formal title printed at the top.

Why use it? To journal about a book that you’ve read—YOUR WAY!

You may look at the previous template and think, “I like this layout, but I don’t like the prompts. I want to write my own prompts.” 

First, I must say that I like your style! That’s why I deleted all the words from this book journal template so that you can customize it to your heart’s content. This is for your own personal use, so it should be, well, personalized!

You may find that you want to journal about different things for different books—which I highly recommend. My book notes vary widely based on the book’s content. I often use a different rating system for fiction versus nonfiction. 

You may want to use one of the big boxes to copy favorite quotes or even new vocabulary that you encountered. Let the book be your guide! What do you not want to forget about it? What info do you want to keep handy for your own needs? 

This template is the best way to journal about nonfiction, which varies widely by type and content. In the photo above, I filled out this template for a nonfiction book I’m reading right now. 

🎨 Book journal pages that you can color!

Calling all doodlers and Sharpie lovers. I’ve created a bundle of five free printable reading journal pages that you can color. As you’re letting your mulling over your most recent read, you can unleash your creativity on these cute (happy!) designs. Opt in below to get your free set.

Which reading tracker template will you use first? 

Okay, book lovers. Leave me a comment and let me know if you nabbed this freebie and how it worked for you!

Didn’t grab the templates yet? You can get them right here. 👇

55 Reading journal prompts that work for ANY book (fun & easy)

55 Reading journal prompts that work for ANY book (fun & easy)

If you’re here for reading journal prompts, then you’re likely:

  • a parent searching for your kid
  • an avid reader (like me!) who keeps a book journal

Either way, you’re in the right place, and you’ll find loads of thought-provoking prompts here in this blog post.

Keeping a reading journal is a great way to remember what you’ve read, but it’s also one way to dialogue with your book and the author, like having a conversation. 

And it doesn’t have to be hard work—on the contrary, it should be easy and fun!

Scroll down and you’ll find reading journal prompts for:

  • Students 
  • Adult fiction
  • Adult nonfiction
  • Book clubs

Before we dive in, let me lay a tiny bit of groundwork.

What is a reading journal, anyway?

It’s a notebook, bullet journal, or three-ring binder where you write things about the book you’re reading. That’s it!

If you’re an adult reader who simply wants to journal, then you do this for the sheer delight of it. A reading journal is a private, safe space (offline) where you can jot down your true feelings about a book, as they pop into your mind, without the pressure of anyone else reacting to you. 

For kids and students, it’s usually an assignment for language arts class. Why, oh heavens, WHY? To help students get into the habit of not just passively reading but responding to what they’ve read. That’s why it’s often called a “reading response journal.” And it’s the best way for busy English teachers with big classes to facilitate this learning activity (and grade it). 

But what to actually write in a reading journal? The possibilities are endless and therefore immobilizing. That’s why it’s super helpful to have prompt ideas at the ready.

Now for the good stuff!

Reading journal prompts for students

Here are my favorite prompts for your student’s reading response journal (or narrative journal, dialectical journal, independent reading enrichment, etc.) Use these to support your homeschool reading curriculum OR (my favorite) foster a book club atmosphere in your home.

11 Easy, imaginative reading journal prompts for kids

This is a non-traditional list of prompts with more of a book club vibe to them. The goal is for kids to respond with their own thoughts (instead of trying to get the “right” answer). 

  1. What’s something from this book that you never want to forget?
  2. Would you call this an “easy” book or a “hard” book? Why?
  3. What character in this book is most like (or unlike) you?
  4. Without thinking too much, write a list of words that describe how this book (or this chapter) made you feel.
  5. Does something in this book (a character, place, or object) remind you of something else from another book (or from your life)?
  6. What would’ve happened if a character had done X instead of Y?
    1. Example: What would’ve happened if Marilla hadn’t kept Anne Shirley?
  7. Would you like to live in this story world? Why or why not?
  8. Did this book teach you something new?
  9. Was this book what you expected it was going to be? Did it surprise you at all?
  10. If you could ask the author a question, what would it be?
  11. Would this book be more interesting if the events were NOT presented in chronological order?

If you’re a homeschool parent or if you simply want to connect with your kids through books, then you MUST check out Sarah MacKenzie at Read-Aloud Revival

10 Academic reading journal prompts for kids

This is a more traditional list of schoolish prompts that should satisfy your child’s reading teacher (but that won’t torture your student). To add more academic rigor to the mix, ask the student to provide textual evidence (quotes, page numbers) to support their answers. 

  1. At the beginning of the book, what does the main character want most? Does this change by the end of the book and how?
  2. Who (or what) is the antagonist (or antagonistic force)? What is it trying to stop the main character from doing? 
  3. Why do you think the author chose this title for the book?
  4. Was this book believable? Could it have happened in real life? Did the characters act like real humans act?
  5. Does a character’s name have special significance?
  6. Which fairy tale, fable, myth, or scripture story does this book remind you of? 
    1. For example, are there any Cinderellas in this book? Is there a Christ figure who sacrifices for others? 
  7. Read the book’s back cover or inside flap. Does it accurately reflect the book or not?
  8. Which character had the biggest impact on the story and why?
  9. How would the story feel different if it was written from a different point of view?
  10. Would this book make a good TV show or movie? Why or why not?

BONUS! Reading-writing activities for homeschooling and distance learning

Take journaling to the next level with these creative writing prompts for kids. Use these in place of a tired, ol’ book report.

  1. Go to the library and check out a stack of wordless books. Invite your students to add words to the book based on the illustrations. Challenge them to write the book in a creative narrative format (for example, as a stage play, in epistolary form, or from the perspective of the bad guy). 
  2. Go to the library and check out a stack of books that are a few reading levels below where your child is at. Have your student rewrite the story for an older audience. Wouldn’t it be fun to read the 6th grade version of a super-simple Frog and Toad story? Or the 10th grade version of Strega Nona?
  3. Buy an inexpensive used copy of a book and have your student write their reading responses directly in the margins. You can even supply your student with emoji stickers that they can use to describe how they feel while reading certain passages.
  4. Try an interactive reading journal. This is where more than one student shares a reading journal, responding to the text but also responding to each other’s responses.

17 Reading journal prompts for adults (fiction)

You love to read books AND discuss what you’ve read. But you don’t always have another human being who is ready and willing to dive deep into your latest novel with you. The solution? A reading journal! Think of it as your own little Booklandia. 

Here are some of my favorite writing prompts for when I’m reading a novel.

  1. Why did you pick THIS book to read right NOW?
  2. Why is the title of this book the title? Is it straightforward or does it have shades of meaning?
  3. Do any of the characters’ names carry any special significance?
  4. Do any of the characters strongly remind you of people in your life? 
  5. Did this book hit on any of your “soft spots” or “sweet spots” as a reader? These are things that you just love and can’t resist. 
  6. Did this book hit on any of your pet peeves as a reader? 
  7. How would you describe the writing? Flowery, plain, poetic, emotional?
  8. Did you speed through this book or was it a slog?
  9. What morals underpin the story? Are they similar to or different from your own values?
  10. What does this book praise? Do you agree?
  11. What does this book put down? Do you agree?
  12. In what ways does the book nail its genre? In what ways does it depart from the typical genre conventions?
  13. Was this book what you expected it was going to be? Did it surprise you at all?
  14. If you could ask the author a question, what would it be?
  15. Would you consider this a favorite book? If not, what would it need to have (or what would need to improve) for it to make your list of favorites?
  16. What personality traits make the protagonist likeable? Unlikeable?
  17. What personality traits make the book’s villain likeable? Unlikeable? 

Starting a reading journal is a great way to get back into reading books if you’re rebounding from a slump. Also, many readers enjoy journaling at the end of the day. Responding to a couple of bedtime journal prompts is a great (screen-free) way to wind down, declutter your brain, and prepare for slumber.

11 Reading journal prompts for nonfiction books

It’s easy to inhale nonfiction—I’m talking business books, self-help books, and hobby books—and then completely forget what you learned or what you wanted to implement. Journaling as you go is one way to make meaningful connections to your life and get your creative juices flowing.

  1. Why did you pick THIS book to read right NOW?
  2. Without thinking too much, quickly write a list of Ah-ha moments you had when reading this book. Do it from memory first, and then flip through the book to remember any that you forgot. 
  3. Did this book teach you a lot of new concepts, or did it reinforce things you already knew?
  4. In what ways did this book inspire you (emotionally or spiritually)?
  5. Are you going to think differently or make any changes based on this book?
  6. Was this book what you expected it was going to be? Did it surprise you at all?
  7. If you could ask the author a question, what would it be?
  8. What does this book praise? Do you agree?
  9. What does this book put down? Do you agree?
  10. What important information from this book do you NOT want to forget?
  11. Did this book turn you on to other books or resources that you want to explore or check out?

6 Reading journal prompts to spice up your book club (FUN!)

Giving your book club members a few reading journal prompts upfront is an easy way to spark discussion when it comes time to meet up and actually discuss the book. First off, it gives you a place to start. And second, people arrive preloaded with a LOT to say because they’ve already been thinking about the questions.

The LAST thing you want is for your book club discussion questions to feel like a school assignment. Oh, no no no no. That’s why I’m giving you juicy questions that still manage to feel lighthearted and fun. 

You can print these prompts onto a journal page and give each member a copy to reference as they read. Or, if you’ve got a tech-savvy group, you can send out a Google form that contains all of the prompts, and everyone can respond electronically. Wouldn’t it be fun to read the responses aloud at your meeting but make everyone guess which response is whose?

  1. Do any of the characters in this book remind you of someone in our book club? BE NICE!
  2. If our book club could take the main character out for a night on the town, where would we go and what would we do?
  3. Pretend this book is being made into a movie or TV show, and you’re the casting director. Which actors would you pick to portray each character?
  4. Which type of social media account would each character in this book use the most?
  5. Which emoji (or gif or meme) best describes how you feel about this book?
  6. Choose one of the following to describe how you felt about this book:
    1. This was a good book, and I liked it.
    2. This was a bad book, but I liked it anyway.
    3. This was a good book, but I didn’t like it.
    4. This was a bad book, and I didn’t like it.

I hope that these reading journal prompts have you itching to grab your favorite pen and start scribbling!
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