What is Independent Reading?

Independent Reading is really an important component of any literacy program. But what is it really?

What is Independent Reading?

Independent Reading is reading that students do on their own. They choose their own texts, read quietly, and use the comprehension strategies that have been taught in read aloud and shared reading. This should occur daily, to help students bump up their reading levels and confidence.

What do I do during Independent Reading?

As the teacher, you are most likely going to be working with students, as your students are doing independent reading. This is a great time to get in your guided reading.
However, it is important to set some time in your schedule for independent reading conferences, even if you can squeeze it in once a week, and meet with 2-3 student.

What do the students do during Independent Reading?

The students are actively reading. They are taking what they have learned in read aloud and in shared reading, and are applying it to independent reading. They read texts at their independent level, and monitor their comprehension.

What kind of books should I choose?

As the teacher, you will not be selecting the texts. However, you will need to provide your students with texts to choose from. Hopefully, you will have access to books within your classroom.  I buy my own books and label them.  I purchase the books from facebook groups, consignment stores, and garage sales.  I try to make sure that I have a variety of levels and a variety of genres.  You can provide books to your students without purchasing anything! Some schools have independent books available.  You can bring your students to your school library. They can select texts that interest them to read.  Another great way to bring books into your classroom is through the app EPIC.  It is free for teachers to sign up.  Students will have a variety of texts at their fingertips.

How does I assess Independent Reading?

Like guided reading, you might have a variety of assessments to help you out.  If you want to check on student fluency and decoding, do a running record of their reading.  Bring students to conduct a reading conference - this one on one time will give you insight into the student as a reader.  You will want to take anecdotal notes for this. You can also have students hand in reading responses based on what they are reading. Provide them with questions that are connected to what you have taught them in read aloud and shared reading.  This is the time for them to show what they have learned.

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