Independent Reading Strategy Folder

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In this folder, you'll find helpful resources to enact many independent reading lessons, which promote accountability and comprehension.

Big Idea

"A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Five Minute Focus Read: Log Set Up

10 minutes

On the first day of the week, each student completes a Five Minute Focus Read Equation Sheet. They use the independent text they're currently reading, and they determine a tailored, differentiated weekly reading goal. They read independently for five minutes and then track the number of pages they read in that time. Watch this: Five Minute Focus Read Explanation Video for more information.

Independent Reading & Conferring

20 minutes

I try to facilitate at least fifteen minutes of independent reading each day. While students are independently reading, I remain active. I may be checking reading logs: reading over their responses and asking questions based on what I have read. I may be calling kids to the back table and conferring with them about their latest reading, either using their logs or any of the various checks found in this strategy folder. It takes a while for me to build an independent reading culture in my classroom. At the start of the year, students struggle with choosing appropriate texts, become distracted by peers easily, and wander around. By the end of the year, kids show a real interest in choosing their texts and become more comfortable and engaged with the idea of independent reading.

I mark who I've spoken with directly on the students' reading log. I also make a mark in my grade book that denotes we've had a conversation about a book. For me, this is less about giving a grade and more about making sure I make one on one contact with every person during the week.

Independent Reading Log Checks

10 minutes

In this section, I've included all of the various ways I hold kids accountable for their independent reading.

I most days of instruction with sacred independent reading time. As kids read, I'm always circulating and conferring with them. Often, our conferences are based on some kid of paperwork completed by the students prior to entering class. This could be in the form of a reading log, entrance ticket completed upon entry, or a mini-quiz. The goal is to get frequent, effective feedback from kids on their reading.

The first type of feedback could be in the form of a reading log:

One Day Reading Log

Two Day Reading Log

Three Day Reading Log

These are great ways to hold kids accountable for their independent reading that happens outside of class. I often assign these for homework. However, the One Day Reading Logs can be great for in class reading time. Another nice feature about my reading logs is they are easily modified to incorporate subjects covered in class. For example: if I go over a certain topic during a mini-lesson, I can apply this to the summary or "my thinking" section for additional student practice.

Independent Reading Checks and Accountability Reflections

10 minutes

Sometimes, before in-class independent reading time begins, I ask kids to reflect on the quality of their previous night or weeks reading, in the form of an entrance ticket. This is meant to get them writing about the experience of their reading in a meaningful way. This particular Entrance Ticket, focuses on the level of a given text. It forces the questions: is this book too challenging? Is it too elementary; do I need to boost my reading level?

Every so often, I will give an impromptu independent reading quiz. This quiz assumes students have been independently reading on their own and asks them to reflect on their reading upon returning to the classroom. Here is one Independent Reading Quiz Check that I have given in the past.

This End of Week Reading Reflection asks kids to reflect on their reading progress for the given week. Have they made appropriate gains in their weekly independent reading?