Category: Independent Reading


Part 3 – Independent Means Independent—The Importance of Student Choice

Part 3 of The Independent Reading Series
(Originally posted on Sept. 1, 2015.)

In his article A Skill for Life, high school teacher Steve Gardiner explains that “We write learning objectives, create computerized reading programs, and schedule day-by-day instruction, but we often ignore the fact that human beings most frequently succeed at activities they enjoy.” He goes on to say, “We don’t need to spend a lot of money or design complicated programs to help students learn to enjoy reading; we just […]

Continue Reading

Part 2 – The Classroom Library: If you Build it They Will Come

Part 2 of The Independent Reading Series

Recently, flipping through the TV channels, I came across the movie Field of Dreams. Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) listened to the voices in his head and built a baseball field in the middle of a cornfield. And the players came. In this same vein, I want to become the voice in your head: If you build it they will come.

I’m referring to classroom libraries. One of the foundations of every great literacy […]

Continue Reading

Part 1 – The Power of Independent Reading

Part I of The Independent Reading Series
The Power of Independent Reading

I’ve committed my entire career to either teaching English or supporting English and literacy instruction in classrooms. When people find out what I do for a living, they often ask “What do we do about kids these days?” I have even been asked this in the doctor’s office during a check-up. They are asking about the problem with teen literacy skills and most often the poor writing they see in […]

Continue Reading

Independent Reading

With everything else we need to “cover” in a class period, it’s easy to let independent reading time slide from the agenda.  However, volumes of research shows that if we make time for reading then there will likely be less instruction and “coverage” needed. Here’s one small snippet from those those volumes.

Beers, K. (2003). When kids can’t read: What teachers can do. Henemann. (Original work published 1999)

“The Commission on Reading, the group that prepared the report Becoming a Nation of […]

Continue Reading

TOP FIVE: Tips for Turning Kids into Readers

If we want students to actually read the books we assign, we need to start by first turning them into readers. This is why, at every grade level, Inquiry By Design’s suggested scope and sequence starts with building a strong independent reading program — Setting Up the Literacy Studio (elementary school), Creating a Text-Based Culture (middle school), and Foundations for Inquiry (high school). Here are just a few of our favorite tips from those units.
_______________________________________________________________________

1. Choice. 

The hands-down, number-one factor in helping students become readers is giving […]

Continue Reading