Plans for a New School Year: Final Response to Independent Reading

With such a condensed course and whirlwind read on Independent Reading, I feel the new ideas and strategies are going to take some time to sink in. (Good thing it’s summer and I’ll have a few weeks to ponder these new ideas!) A wealth of information is given by Moss and Young (2010) on how to incorporate effective independent reading time into your daily routine. Just like anything else in your classroom, independent reading needs to be a structured classroom activity.  When I had my students participate before, it’s not that it wasn’t structured, it just wasn’t what it should have been. I would encourage my students to use their reading strategies during that time, but we never had extended conversations on what they used and why. Next school year I want to incorporate these types of conversations so students can hear what their peers say about strategies and it also gives me some insight to what my students are doing when they’re reading independently. I also had my students do a reading log, which held them accountable in a way, and we would do some “book talks” after they finished a book. Our reading log wasn’t very extensive and I would like to add the interesting words column and the response start sentences (from the powerpoint). I’m excited for next year because I would really like to incorporate the different types of book talks they described to be used during the community reading time. I especially like the Grab bag book talk (Moss & Young, 2010) because I feel the middle schoolers would love finding the objects to go with their book. I’ve found that with my past students, they love to share… anything. Incorporating that love of sharing and storytelling into book talk mode is going to be a great outlet for them.

Another thing I want to use in the classroom is the Genre Wheel. What a neat way to make sure students read various genres! This gives them a visual of what they’re read and what they still need to try to read. Exploring the websites also gave insight to all of the good resources available to teachers and students for finding books of interest. The internet is full of resources and sometimes it gets overwhelming searching and searching to find one that is credible. The Goldilocks rule and five-finger test (Moss & Young, 2010) are both something I will incorporate into my classroom routine next year. This past year, students would self-select their books and then I would usually have them read a page or two to me to see how they did reading. I need to start allowing them the responsibility of deciding if they are able to read a book. I think this will give them ownership and it won’t be someone telling them they can’t do something, they will be the ones deciding if they can.

One thing I’m truly embarrassed to admit is that it never really occurred to me to use the silent reading rate to help determine the amount of time to dedicate to reading. (I’m really rather ashamed…) I did take into consideration if a student was a slower reader the amount of pages they would be required to read, but it wasn’t based on their reading rate. This is something I plan to utilize next school year. Audio books are another thing I want to incorporate into my classroom. Our school doesn’t have the equipment for each student to have an audio book, but this is something I plan to create a Donor’s Choose project.

I’m excited to start allowing my students more involvement in our classroom library. My goal for the new year is to display less books, but display in a manner that is appealing to the students. Rotating the library collection is another goal. This helps keep the bookshelf manageable and gives the students variety. At the beginning of the year I also want my students to help categorize the classroom library. This allows them the opportunity to see what titles are in the library and also helps with their understanding of categorizing. Although our book didn’t mention this directly, I’m going to incorporate lessons on award winning books. I think our students deserve knowing books receive awards and why those awards are important.

I’m definitely looking forward to starting this next year off right. I’m even planning on giving a speech similar to this one.

Mr. Sharp LOVES Reading from  (A really neat blog if you haven’t checked it out!)



Moss, B. & Young, T. A. (2010). Creating lifelong learners through independent reading. Neward, DE: International Reading Association.



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