Independent Reading Series


After posting every day during the month of March as part of Two Writing Teacher’s Slice of Life Challenge, we took a little time off to decide what was next. We’ve been in and out of classrooms, talking with teachers and students, and we are excited to dive into a series of posts on independent reading.

We share core beliefs about independent reading:

1. Students must read independently every day. 

2.  Students must have choice when it comes to independent reading. 

3. Students must have access to appropriate, high-quality, high-interest texts at home and in school. 

4. Teachers must confer with students frequently about their independent reading: giving feedback and setting goals.  

5. Accountability structures must be implemented with great care and regard for authenticity. 

It’s important to clarify what we mean when we say independent reading. This is not the assigned pages in a science text leading up to a test. We’re not talking about the article that the whole class is required to read during a unit of study.  On the other end of the spectrum, this is not students going off on their own to read whatever suits them momentarily, with no guidance, expectations, or purpose.

The independent reading that we’re referring to is thoughtful, purposeful, student-driven, and teacher supported.

And there are so many ways for teachers to support this time that makes all the difference in the reading lives of students.  And as we know from research, and our own trial and error, there are so many mistakes that can be made as well…to ruin this seemingly simple act.

We can’t wait to share some of the great success that we’ve seen in classrooms.  After talking with teachers in a range of grade levels, we hope to address some points of frustration as well.

Many wonderful minds have inspired our thinking about independent reading. Donalyn Miller, Kelly Gallagher, Kylene Beers, and (of course) Dick Allington are just a few of the educators whose wisdom and research have shaped our core beliefs.  Recently, we’ve been enjoying Kathy Collin’s and Matt Glover’s new book, I AM Reading


We’re sure that we’ll be referencing their work with early readers as we share ways to support independent reading at all levels.

We hope that you’ll join us for this upcoming series, and we’d love your feedback and input as we explore this topic.

~ Jen and Darla


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