Image Map

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Independent Reading

My first love as a student was reading.  When my teacher would say to take out a book and read for 10 minutes after recess, I was in heaven.  I dreaded the moment when she would tell us to put our books away.  10 minutes just wasn't enough for me!  I could read all day long!  

Some of my faves from back in the day (Didn't we all start our own baby-sitters club?):

Don't we all wish every student in our class was like perfect little eight year old me?  My guess is most of US had the same attitude about reading (Hellooooo, that's why we're teachers!), but many of our students are pretty clueless when the teacher says to take out a book and read.  So, we must TEACH independent reading.  I know that sounds so silly to those of you who are new to teaching, but trust me, TEACHING independent reading will make this time so much more beneficial to you and your students.  

I spend about 2 weeks at the beginning of the school year using mini-lessons at the beginning of independent reading time, and throughout the year as needed.  I also try to conference with students about what they are reading, and allow time every week for students to discuss the books they are reading in small groups.  Students must also be held accountable for what they are reading.  At my school we use Accelerated Reader, and also have a "Genre Challenge" at our grade level, where students must read 20 books that fit into teacher-determined genre categories.

Here are two of the anchor charts I used for my mini-lessons last year:


The content of these anchor charts might sound familiar to those of you who use the Daily 5 in your classroom.  While I don't technically use The Daily 5 in my classroom, I do use many of the management techniques and mini-lessons shared in the book.  It's an easy summer read for those of you who haven't read it.  Reading The Daily 5 made all the difference for me!  

Mrs. Monroe and School is a Happy Place just created some really great "Read to Self" posters.  I will definitely be using these this year, in addition to my anchor charts.  Find them here.

I teach my students the "IPICK" strategy to help them choose books for independent reading that are at their level.  You can barely see the poster I downloaded for free on Teachers Pay Teachers on my "Morning Meeting" bulletin board, but I leave it up all year to help remind my kiddos of the meaning of the IPICK acronym.  

Find some more really cute (and FREE!) IPICK posters on Teachers Pay Teachers here.
Have a wonderful rest of your week everyone!  Hope you're enjoying summer and not thinking too much about school yet!  (Besides reading this post) 

post signature


  1. Pinning the why we read chart right now. I always talk about it, but haven't thought about a chart.
    Thanks also for mentioning my I charts.
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation.

    School Is a Happy Place

  2. I love being "pinned!" Thanks! I really love your charts...thanks for the link!

  3. What are the 3 signs next to the calendar?

    1. Hi Melanie! The three signs are my owl-themed objectives posters. I post our weekly "targets" in kid-friendly language and discuss them at our Monday morning meeting. If I forget, the kids usually ask what the objectives are, which tells me they really want to know what is coming up!

      You can find them on TPT here:

  4. What font did you use for your "Morning Meeting"?

    1. Hi Kay, The font is called Pineapple Express. I can't remember where I downloaded it, but it was free from one of the font websites. I bet if you Google it, it will show up!