Independent Reading

Independent Reading

Reference: More info in 50 Literacy Strategies book by Gail E. Tompkins

Rationale – why to include in LA program

  • Letting kids pick what book to read helps them develop their own tastes and preferences as readers – they can also practice picking books that are right for them
  • Sustained silent reading helps kids develop their reading ability – fluency, vocal and comprehension
  • SSR creates a positive attitude toward reading and encourages students to develop a daily habit of reading (increases the amount of reading they do every day)
  • SSR also helps students develop their ability to read silently / without interruption

How to include independent reading in your Language Arts program

  • Some kids will like to listen to music during silent reading
  • In my Wednesday visit class, the kids have silent reading after lunch for 20 minutes every day
  • They also do book talks with the teacher when they finish a book – they tell the teacher what the story was about and answer a couple of questions about what they liked or didn’t like
  • The kids are also allowed to read on their phones (as long as they are not being distracted by them) – some have downloaded books onto them
  • Stamina reading – time the class to see how long they can read for and try to increase time every day
  • Favourite picks – make bookmarks of favourite books – kids recommending books to each other (which is what we do in real life)
  • 50 literacy strategies book has a bunch of ideas, including the Goldilocks strategy (how to pick the right book for you)
  • Sustained silent reading (SSR) – independent reading time set aside during school day – whole class activity (usually 15-30 mins)
    • Students read silently
    • Students choose their own books (one book or reading material for entire time)
    • Teacher models by reading too during SSR
    • No evaluation afterward
    • No book reports or other post-reading activities (although sometimes students will discuss their books with a partner or volunteer to give book talks or pass on books they are done with to interested classmates – just like we do in real life)
    • Set timer for pre-determined time of reading
    • Make sure students know how to choose books at their reading level (use Goldilocks strategy first)
    • Make sure there are some appealing books written at ELL levels as well for these students.
    • Have SSR at the same time every day
    • Make sure students have access to lots of books (classroom library or school library) – here is a picture of the book corner in my mentor teacher’s classroom: