Independent Reading - Adams 12 Five Star Schools

and Reading Response
“There are few ideas more widely accepted than that
reading is learned through reading.”
--National Reading Panel, 2000
During independent reading!
 “Independent reading is a
context within which
children can see
themselves as readers and
build habits that can last a
--Fountas & Pinnell,
What researchers say…
 Richard C. Anderson concluded from his study on the role of independent reading of
trade books in children’s reading achievement “that wide independent reading makes
substantial contributions to children’s present reading achievement and their growth
as readers over time.”
--Linda G. Fielding, “Point of View: Richard C. Anderson,” Reading
Researchers in Search of Common Ground
 “The importance of reading as an avenue to improved reading has been stressed by
theorists, researchers, and practitioners alike, no matter what their perspectives. …it
is generally agreed that practice in reading develops better readers.”
--National Reading Panel, 2000
 “When children are given adequate time to engage with texts on a daily basis, their
improvement in literacy development is substantial.”
--Tony Stead, in Good Choice! Supporting Independent Reading and
Response K-6 citing Stephen Krashen, The Power of Reading
 “Not only does having access to trade books motivate students to read, it also
increases their reading achievement.”
--Guthrie, Schafer & Von Secker, 2000
…and the professional literature confirms…
 “A longstanding, highly
respected body of research
definitively shows that
students who read more,
read better, and have higher
reading achievement.”
--Regie Routman,
Reading Essentials
 For more specifics on the importance of
independent reading, consult:
 Allington, What Matters for Struggling
 Allington, “What I’ve Learned About
Effective Reading Instruction from a
Decade of Studying Exemplary Elementary
Classroom Teachers,” Phi Delta Kappan
 Fader, New Hooked on Books
 NAEP Trends in Academic Progress Report
 Scholastic, “The Impact of Trade Books on
Reading Achievement” a combination of
two articles by Dr. D. Ray Reutzel and Susan
B. Neumann
 Taylor, Pearson, et al., “Beating the Odds,”
CIERA Report #2
What makes it so essential to successful reading development?
Why Independent Reading is Essential
 The “independent reading” referred to and solidly
supported in the research…
 …is an integral part of a comprehensive literacy framework.
 …provides daily time for sustained reading.
 …offers choice while matching readers with just-right books.
 …invites wide reading with a well-stocked classroom library.
 …is purposefully structured and well-monitored by the
 …is a meaningful experience surrounded by literate thinking
and talk.
Independent Reading as Part of a
Comprehensive Literacy Framework
 Independent reading is planned practice.
 Independent reading completes the gradual release.
The teacher releases responsibility to students for
applying new learning.
 Students have the time they need to orchestrate the
strategies and skills they are learning during read aloud
and shared reading.
 Teachers have the time they need to confer with readers,
monitor progress, and continue the cycle of teaching
and learning.
If you were taking tennis lessons,
and your instructor skillfully
showed you how all the things you
needed to know but never gave
you time to practice, how effective
would you be in putting it all
together and becoming a tennis
“When we teach reading, we are teaching children to do
something. Children can’t learn to swim without
swimming, to write without writing, to sing without
singing, or to read without reading.”
--Lucy Calkins, The Art of Teaching Reading
The Importance of Sustained Reading
 When given opportunities to read for extended periods of time,
readers get better at reading by:
Reading more—quantity matters!
Making reading a habit—it’s daily and predictable
Reading widely—readers have time to immerse themselves in a variety of
genres, authors, and topics
Building fluency
Expanding vocabulary and background knowledge that supports
Nurturing a sense of inquiry and desire to learn—developing expertise
on a topic of study
Discovering preferences—devouring favorites and gaining deeper
understandings of texts they are committed to
 The reading stamina that students develop also prepares them
for the demands of lengthy passages on standardized tests.
Choice in independent reading makes a
 If given a choice, would
you prefer to read a text
you’ve selected or one
that someone selected
for you?
 Of course, you would
prefer to choose your
own text. Why?
Choice Engages and Empowers Readers
 Readers are motivated to read when, by choice, they
read to…
 …satisfy their own interests.
 …pursue their passions (favorite authors, topics, etc.).
 …set their own purposes for reading (I want to read this
text because it will help me learn more about ___.).
 …meet their own goals.
 …read what their friends have recommended.
 Learning to exercise choice is a powerful experience in
In what ways might choice be offered to students beyond that of
self-selected text?
What difference would it make for readers to have choice in
where they read? In how they respond to their reading?
Choice Balanced with Just-Right Text
 The importance of matching text with readers
cannot be understated.
 During independent reading, students must be reading
high-success texts—texts that they can read with
accuracy (95% or above), fluency, and comprehension.
 This ensures that students can monitor their
understanding (know when they aren’t getting it) and
can effectively apply the strategies and skills they are
learning to problem-solve when needed.
 Quick, accurate reading also preserves energy for
thinking deeply about text.
How will students know what just-right text is?
Teach Students How to Select Just-Right Texts
 Even the youngest readers can learn simple criteria for
selecting books:
 I like this book. I enjoy reading this book.
 I know almost all the words and I can figure out the words I
don’t know.
 My voice sounds smooth, not bumpy. My voice sounds like
the teacher’s voice during read aloud.
 I remember what I read. I can talk about it with my friends.
 Use this or similar language in a series of think alouds to
model selecting just-right books in K/1.
 Use shared writing to create a chart that your community
of readers can refer to often.
How could maturing readers be encouraged to expand and
refine their text selection?
Selecting Just-Right Texts (cont’d.)
 Over time, readers can learn additional ways to preview
and select just-right text:
 Notice what the title and cover reveal
 Seek favorite authors, illustrators, characters, topics, genres
 Read the front and back flaps
 Skim the book to discover what it’s about
 Sample part of the text
 Consider their level of familiarity with genre, content, writing
 Monitor their understanding and know when they aren’t
Independent Reading Invites Wide Reading
 Wide reading increases readers’
comfort and familiarity with
different kinds of texts.
Readers develop loyalty to
authors, series, and characters.
Readers sample different writing
styles and discover their own
mentor texts.
Readers expand their knowledge
of world and develop cultural
Variety promotes flexibility in
processing many kinds of texts.
Support Wide Reading with an Effective
Classroom Library
 Have a range of texts appropriate for all levels of reading
ability and interests.
Include a variety of genres, balancing fiction and nonfiction.
Have enough texts so the library is not depleted with regular
Organize the library with students so they know how to
access texts.
Spark interest in reading with book talks and book shares.
For more information on building and maintaining a classroom library, visit
the district’s literacy website, “Independent Reading” link, to view a selfguided PowerPoint presentation on “Classroom Libraries.”
Independent Reading is Structured
 Well-rehearsed routines and clear expectations pave
the way for the important work of independent
 Explicitly model and practice routines with students.
 Above all, readers should clearly understand the
purpose for independent reading.
Establishing Expectations
 Students will need to know:
 What to read (how to find reading materials and return them)
 Where to read
Will they sit in their seats or choose personal reading spots?
 Appropriate voice levels
(silent reading for fluent readers—Gr. 2 and up)
 Expectations for movement
Will they have all the materials needed or is it okay to go back
and forth to the class library, sharpen pencils, etc.?
 Expectations for book handling
 If and how reading will be recorded in logs
 What to do when assistance is needed
 How to know when reading time is over
Establishing Expectations in K/1
 Use shared writing to
create rules together
and post for easy
 This is one example for
a kindergarten
 Find your bookbox.
 Take it to your personal
reading spot.
Read quietly.
Keep reading until you
hear the music.
Put your bookbox away.
Come to the carpet to
Reading Logs
 Readers in Grades 2 and above
may record what they read.
 Reading logs help students track
the quantity and variety of their
 This information is useful in:
 making informed reading
 recommending books to
 setting goals and celebrating
 Reading logs may be part of a
larger Reader’s Notebook in the
intermediate grades.
Independent Reading at the Beginning
of the Year in K/1
 Independent reading can
begin on the first day of
 K/1 readers should have the
opportunity to:
 Browse alphabet books,
counting books, and other
concept books
 “Read” picture books
 Notice and learn from the
photos in simple
informational texts
 Behave like readers
 Day 1 is not too soon to begin
to see yourself as a reader!
K/1 Independent Reading
 Very soon, more reading materials may be added to
students’ independent reading boxes:
 Songs, chants, poems, and other familiar text from
shared reading
 Small copies of familiar big books
 Guided reading texts that students can read with
accuracy, fluency, and comprehension
 Some of these texts may still be “read” from memory.
Just like in writing, students’ approximations should be
accepted until the point at which they are ready to
transition away from reading-like behaviors to reading
simple texts by attending to print.
How can teachers in Grades 2 and beyond ensure that
independent reading time is spent reading?
What routines and expectations may be the same?
What differences might there be?
More Time for Reading
 Instead of activities and centers, students may:
 browse and read from the classroom library
 read and/or retell previous read aloud texts
 explore special bookboxes with books by one author or on one
 reread familiar poems and shared reading
 read from group bookboxes (books from guided reading)
 read with partners
 read from own bookboxes
 This expanded reading opportunity does not replace
independent reading time. It supplements in a way that
offers choice.
While this extra practice is valuable, it’s missing an essential
element–-teacher monitoring.
This key characteristic separates independent reading, as an
essential element of a comprehensive literacy framework, from
merely reading independently.
Monitoring Progress in Independent
Reading through Conferring
 Beginning with the youngest readers, conferring adds
dimension to independent reading.
 The teacher spends time side-by-side with students, listening
to them talk about their reading and communicating a
genuine interest in them as readers.
 Literate conversations push readers to think more deeply
about text and about their processes as readers.
 Teachers learn about their students’ strengths and areas for
growth—vital information for planning future instruction.
Conferring: Text Selection
 Through conferring, the teacher
carefully monitors and scaffolds
text selection:
 Is this text a good match with
readers? Are students reading
with accuracy, fluency, and
How deep is the level of
Is reading balanced (among
genres, topics, authors)?
Are students reading enough?
(using time wisely)
What are students’ interests?
Conferring: Differentiation
 With skillful conferring, the teacher also differentiates
for readers.
 Specifically reinforcing what readers do well
 Prompting students to apply problem-solving strategies
 Teaching through 1:1 demonstrations when needed
 Re-teaching skills needed by this reader that other readers have
already mastered
 Modeling and engaging readers in literate talk
 Encouraging students’ reflective thinking about their own processes
for solving words and making meaning
 Setting and monitoring reading goals
Conferring: Setting Goals
 Setting goals and assessing progress toward those goals
is another key aspect of conferring.
 Goals should be matched to instruction, changing over
time as readers grow, and worded so students clearly
 When readers know what is expected of them, they are
able to partner with the teacher in making progress.
Setting Goals with Primary Students
 “What I’m Working On”
reflects the current range of
teaching and expected
 Through discussion, the
teacher and student identify
strengths and set a goal to
work toward.
 Then at the close of the
conference, the teacher can
remind the student of the
goal and set an expectation
for applying it in reading.
It may be helpful to think of conferences on a
A K-2 Conferring Continuum
Emergent Readers
Early Fluent
• While making meaning, most of an
emergent reader’s energy is on processing
• A critical aspect of conferences with these
readers is listening to and recording oral
reading so the teacher can monitor
developing strategies for processing print.
• Readers’ fledgling strategies for processing
print are growing stronger; running
records help teachers identify specific
strengths and areas for continued growth.
• As early as the end of 1st grade, many
readers have become proficient decoders.
They have figured out “the system” and
begin transitioning to silent reading.
• As these readers move into 2nd grade,
teachers will still want to monitor
accurate, fluent reading and
• Conferences begin with conversation about
the text. Then, during oral reading of a
short passage, miscues are recorded and
analyzed and fluency is noted.
Conferring with K-2 Students
 This is one way to structure a
conference with emergent
and early fluent readers.
 It is also appropriate for
supporting below grade level
readers in 2nd grade.
 Taking a running record is
embedded in the conference.
This step-by-step guide for primary
conferring may be located on the
district’s literacy website at the
“Independent Reading” link.
Conference Record Keeping
Conference forms are a matter of personal
preference. Design a form to meet your needs.
This form has space for a running record
and includes questions from Literacy By
Design to assess comprehension.
Conferring: How long? How many?
 Once a teacher has developed some fluency with
conferring, conferences in K/1 should each take about
5-7 minutes.
 During a typical 20-minute independent reading time,
that might mean that a first grade teacher:
Confers with two focus students
Checks-in with two other students
 Over the course of the month, in an average-sized class
(25), the teacher would see every student at least once
and some students more frequently, depending on
Conferring with Intermediate Readers
What principles of conferring
remain the same?
What differences are there?
 Conversational tone
 Decoding strategies are usually
 Teacher learns about the
readers’ strengths and needs
Specific reinforcement of
what the reader is doing well
Monitoring text selection
Reflective thinking
Setting and revisiting goals
in place, so conferences with
intermediate readers focus on
depth of comprehension.
 Texts are longer—meaning
teachers may not have specific
knowledge of their content.
Generic questions can support
teachers in monitoring
 Conferences may include review
of reading logs and sharing of a
Reader’s Notebook.
Probing Depth of Comprehension
 The teacher asks questions
that will help to determine
the student’s level of
 Generic questions can
support this conversation
even when the teacher has
not read this specific text.
 Have you discovered a
problem? Tell me about it.
 What have you noticed about
the main character? (traits,
change over time, etc.)
 What’s happening right now?
 What have you learned or
want to remember?
 What have you noticed about
how this text is organized?
How is that helping you read
and understand?
Monitoring Comprehension
 Many factors may affect depth of comprehension.
 In conferences with intermediate readers, the teacher is also
 Use of strategies to comprehend (e.g., inferring, connecting)
 Just-right text (Does the reader have the necessary background
Fluency and pacing
Self-monitoring and use of strategies to fix-up meaning
Ability to learn and use new vocabulary
Wide reading
 Skillfully, the teacher uses this information to
 guide the student in appropriate ways
 inform future instruction
The instructor watches you try your hand at serving (practice).
S/he assesses your skill level, and then moves to your side to
guide you, helping you with your delivery right at the point of
Every child should feel successful when the conference
is over and the teacher moves on.
Independent Reading is Surrounded by
Literate Thinking and Talk
 The literate talk that begins in read alouds is the basis for
the thinking and responding that readers will eventually do
 Teacher modeling and discussions in read aloud teach
readers how to think and talk about text. The richer the
talk, the deeper and more insightful the responses.
 Beginning in kindergarten, readers can use these models to
think about and respond to their independent reading.
Literate talk is facilitated by choice of read alouds. “They should be meaningful
and memorable texts that excite and inform students and help them understand
themselves and the world.” –Reading for Life: The Learner as a Reader
Reading Response in K/1
 Readers first need to experience success in responding during
whole group.
 Teachers can encourage students to participate in:
 predicting and inferring
 making meaningful personal connections
 comparing/contrasting texts and authors
 discussing characters—their traits, their choices, lessons learned
 sharing new learning
 supporting thinking with details from illustrations and from the
 developing favorite authors
 establishing purposes for reading
 expressing opinions and evaluating texts
 reflecting on reading processes
Questions to Spark Literate Conversation
These questions support critical
What do you think the story is going to be
thinking about story.
What might happen next?
Do you think the story could have happened
in real life? Why or why not?
Where do you think the author got the idea
for this story?
How is the main character the same or
different from you?
Students first need to experience
success in thinking and talking
about text during whole group
How is the character feeling? Why?
How did the character change in the story?
Did the character learn something? What?
Where is the story taking place?
Does the setting change? How? Why?
Is this author trying to tell us something
about people and they way they live?
Have you ever been to a place like this?
What was it like? How does that help you
understand the story?
Is there a lesson that we can learn?
Sharing after Independent Reading
 Extend the opportunity to apply these models for
thinking and talking about text to independent
Model and encourage literate talk during individual
Bring students together at the end of independent reading for
sharing. Make this a special time to share:
 Something learned from reading
 Something noticed about text
 Something a student has learned about him/herself as a reader
Independent Reading Share (cont’d.)
 Drawing the reading
community together to share
after independent reading
supports all readers.
 With increasing
sophistication, readers can
talk about:
 Success in problem-solving
 Success in applying strategies
to understand text
 Reading recommendations
Book Talks and Book Shares
 Use this time to give book
 Offer a brief overview.
 Read a short passage that
includes to spark interest.
 Make connections between
topics, authors, genre as
 Share why the book is worthy
of reading.
 Students can use this model
for preparing their own book
shares—promoting books
they believe would appeal to
other readers.
Moving into Written Response
 As readers continue to be immersed in a wide variety
of quality literature and literate conversations, they
become smarter with words and ideas about texts and
about the world.
 Discussions, independent reading share, and
conferences have all been a sort of “oral rehearsal” for
written response.
 It’s time to take it to writing. Students’ words and
ideas are begging to be heard!
in K/1
The earliest
responses can take
the form of
pictures with
simple text.
Arthur is fune.
Reading Response in First Grade
As readers grow in their ability to think and respond,
they can be expected to spend more time on the
written portion of response.
Teachers may use shared writing to create responses
(to read alouds) beginning with simple sentence
 I (we) liked…
 I learned…
 I felt…
 I think…
 I noticed…
 I wonder…
 It reminds me of…
These simple stems can be glued inside a Reading
Response Journal.
Writing is thinking on paper. With experience,
readers will develop more fluency of thought and
written responses will become more complete. The
sentence stems they may have depended on to get
started can be found embedded in a larger response.
Poetry Response
 When poetry is an integral
part of students’ daily reading
lives, they enjoy responding
to it, too.
 These stems may get students
started, but later their
responses will increase in
 This poem makes me feel…
 This poem reminds me of…
 This poet likes to…
 This poem is special
 I like this poem because…
In closing…
Finding time may be the greatest
challenge of all.
Randy Bomer, in Time for Meaning,
suggests that what we really mean
when we say that there is not
enough time, is that “it’s hard to
choose and control what we do
with the time we have.”
He further suggests that “finding
clarity of purpose” makes it easier
to find time for the things we
So, what is the real purpose for
independent reading? It goes well
beyond increasing student
 “If our goal is to help
children compose richly
literate lives, then we need
to give them time each day
to do just that.”
--Lucy Calkins, The Art of
Teaching Reading

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