Q & A on Independent Reading

Part 6 of The Independent Reading Series
(Originally posted on Sept. 23, 2015.)

In keeping with our independent reading series, we asked teachers from the districts where we work to share some of their ideas and responses to a few of the most asked questions about independent reading. Here’s what they said!

What are some ways you’ve found to inspire and motivate reluctant readers?

iPads: Storia
• Letting go of my “issues”—i.e. if Captain Underpants is what motivates them, so be it.
• Summer challenge rewards
• Let them read “easy” books, below their level, to build confidence
• Tell them, “I just finished a book I think you’ll love” when it’s true
• Unite for Literacy website
• Send free books home from book order freebies
• AR goals and rewards
• Challenging kids to the 40 book challenge —encouraging different genres
• Book shares—peer recommendations
• Talk to them about their passions and find books for them
• Read alouds—kids get inspired and engaged and are exposed to books they wouldn’t choose on their own
• Connect books to their interests
• Lunch with the principal as a reading reward

What are some of your favorite titles for shared reading?

• Pollyanna
• Wonder
• Rules
• Where the Red Fern Grows
• The Grand Escape
• Because of Winn Dixie
• Frindle
• Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
• Maniac McGee
• The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
• Holes
• Sign of the Beaver
• A Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket books)
• Treasure Island
• Coraline
• The Boys Start the War (series)
• Fourth Grade Rats
• Hank Zipzer series (Funny!)
• Artsy Fartsy
• The Tiger Rising
• Percy Jackson (series)
• Iqbal
• The City of Ember (series)
• Inside Out and Back Again
• The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza
• The Tale of Despereaux

What are your favorite ways to introduce students to books?

• My books are in bins. I put a bin on each desk. I do something like a book pass but the kids move, not the bins.
• Start with nonfiction
• Read book #1 in a series
• Basic “book walks”
• Genre carousel walk
• Scholastic book orders
• Share your enthusiasm about your own favorite books
• Storyline Online (movie stars reading books)
• Book talks—kids present their favorites
• Make a big deal about new books added to the classroom library and institute a checkout system
• Class book recommendation lists—students tell why they’d recommend the book and to whom
• Author studies
• Brown paper package “unwrap”
• Have meaningful conversations with kids about books
• Scholastic book wizard
• Suggesting books around topics you know kids enjoy


Please leave your comments sharing additional ideas or questions about independent reading!