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I Can Do It By Myself! Independent Reading in Elementary Schools Presented by Cherry Carl Characteristics of the Independent Reader The independent reader: Takes great pride in reading books to himself for pleasure Has developed control over the entire reading process and cueing systems.

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characteristics of the independent reader
Characteristicsof the Independent Reader

The independent reader:

  • Takes great pride in reading books to himself for pleasure
  • Has developed control over the entire reading process and cueing systems.
  • Uses background experiences and knowledge (schemata)
  • Reads fluently
  • Predicts and confirms

Source: Reutzel and Cooter (1999)

presentation highlights
Presentation Highlights
  • What does research say about independent reading?
  • The effects of independent reading on reading achievement
  • Assessing student independent reading level
  • In-school independent reading
  • Out-of-school independent reading
  • Motivating students to read independently
  • Retelling, reflecting, and revisiting
presentation highlights4
Presentation Highlights
  • Reading workshop
  • Selecting texts for independent reading
  • Reading Responses and Record Keeping
  • Independent reading rubrics
  • Accountability
  • Taking a Look at California Standards
  • Resources
what does research say about independent reading
What Does Research Say About Independent Reading?
  • In-school and out of free reading programs are consistently effective.
  • Studies show that free reading program are effective for vocabulary development, grammatical development, writing style, and oral language ability.
  • People who say they read more write better.
  • Children read more when they see other people reading.

(Krashen, 1993)

what does research say about independent reading6
What Does Research Say About Independent Reading?
  • If children read 1 million words in a year, at least 1,000 words will be added to their vocabulary.
  • When books are readily available, when the print environment is rich, more reading is done.
  • Access to a school library results in more reading.
  • Children read more when they listen to stories and discuss stories.

(Krashen, 1993)

what does research say about independent reading7
What Does Research Say About Independent Reading?

The amount of time students spent in independent reading was the best predictor of reading achievement and also the best predictor of the amount of gain in reading achievement made by students between second and fifth grade.

Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988)

what does research say about independent reading8
What Does Research Say About Independent Reading?

There is evidence that unless children read substantial amounts of print, their reading will remain laborious and limited in effectiveness.

LaBerge & Samuels

the effects of independent reading on reading achievement
The Effects of Independent Reading on Reading Achievement
  • Improves reading achievement
  • Builds fluency
  • Increases vocabulary
  • Builds background knowledge and schema
  • Exposes students to diverse topics and information that can be used in future reading
the effects of reading familiar materials
The Effects of ReadingFamiliar Materials

The reading of familiar materials enables the child to:

  • Make meaningful predictions that can be checked.
  • Practice effective strategies on easy materials.
  • Read with fluency and expression.
  • Experience the pleasure of revisiting favorite stories.
  • Become more knowledgeable about story structure and vocabulary.
  • Problem-solve independently.

Dorn, et al , 1998

assessing student independent reading level
Assessing Student Independent Reading Level
  • Running Records
  • Five-Finger Test
  • Readability Formulas
in school independent reading
In-School Independent Reading
  • Daily time for self-selected reading
  • D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read)
  • U.S.S.R. (Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading)
  • D.I.R.T. (Daily Independent Reading Time)
  • Self-selected text or predetermined reading list
  • Familiar text: revisit guided reading books, journals
  • Builds confidence in problem solving new words
in school independent reading13
In-School Independent Reading
  • Single classroom or school-wide
  • Silent reading partners
  • Literature Circles: reading for a purpose
  • Teachers participate as role models
  • Reading nooks support independent reading time
  • Personal book baskets/boxes
  • A good reading environment encourages reading (Krashen (1993)
in school independent reading14
In-School Independent Reading
  • Reading logs, reading skills checklist
  • Magazines and/or newspapers
  • Bookmarks
  • Reading conference sheet
  • Leveled libraries
  • Thematic book baskets
out of school independent reading
Out-of-SchoolIndependent Reading
  • Parent education
  • Access to school and public libraries
  • Thematic book bags to take home
  • Birthday backpack
  • Summer reading lists
  • Reading in bed
  • The Three B’s: book ownership, book racks and bed lamps (Trelease)
revisit reflect and retell
Revisit, Reflect and Retell

Richard Allington and Lucy Calkins suggest that we need to have students engage in fewer formal responses to reading. They fear that students are asked too frequently to write about or create a visual response. In many cases, the best and most appropriate response to reading is more reading.

(For powerful strategies for revisiting, reflecting and retelling, see Linda Hoyt’s book!)

Linda Hoyt, 1999

motivating students to read independently
Motivating Studentsto Read Independently
  • Book clubs
  • Breakfast clubs
  • Reading events
  • Poetry parties
  • Book talks
  • Book “commercials”
  • Access to large amounts of high quality, engaging texts
motivating students to read independently18
Motivating Studentsto Read Independently
  • Guest readers
  • California Young Reader Medal participation
  • Author/Genre studies
  • Teacher modeling
  • Recognition: rewards and certificates
  • Opportunities for in-school free choice reading
  • Summer Reading Programs
motivating students to read independently19
Motivating Studentsto Read Independently
  • Active parent involvement
  • Partnerships among community institutions
  • Access to varied material that appeals to all ages and tastes
  • Authors’ visits
reading workshop
Reading Workshop
  • Getting started
  • Reading and response logs
  • Anecdotal notes
  • Setting guidelines and benchmarks
  • Mini-lessons

Teach children to value reading!!

  • Conferencing with students
selecting texts for independent reading
Selecting Textsfor Independent Reading
  • Matching Books to Readers
  • Just-Right Books for Beginning Readers (Ellen Brooks, 1996)
  • For young readers look for books with large type, predictable patterns, interesting content and quality illustrations. (Bialostok, 1992)
  • Avoid age restrictions.
  • Know your students!
reading responses and record keeping
Reading Responsesand Record Keeping
  • Reading response journals
  • Dialogue journals
  • Double entry journals
  • Reading conferences
  • Book sharing
  • Book reviews
independent reading rubrics
Independent Reading Rubrics
  • Accountability piece
  • Outstanding! Wow! So-So and Oops! (source: The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins, page 78)
california language arts standards
California Language Arts Standards

In addition to their regular school reading, by grade four, students read one-half million words annually, including a good representation of grade-level-appropriate narrative and expository text (e.g., classic and contemporary literature, magazines, newspapers, online information).

  • Anderson, Wilson, Fielding (1988).
  • Bialostok, Steven (1992) Raising Readers: Helping Your Child to Literacy. Winnipeg, Canada: Peguis Publishers Limited.
  • Calkins, Lucy (2001). The Art of Teaching Reading. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc.
  • Cullinan, Bernice (2000). Independent Readingand School Achievement.
  • Dorn, Linda et al (1998). Apprenticeship in Literacy: Transitions Across Reading and Writing. York, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Fountas, Irene and Pinnell, Gay Su (199). Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6.
  • Hopkins, Gary. “Sustained Silent Reading” Helps Develop Independent Readers (and Writers). Education World.
  • Hoyt, Linda (1999). Revisit, Reflect, Retell: Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
  • Krashen, Stephen (1993). The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.
  • Reutzel, Ray and Cooter, Robert (1999). Balanced Reading Strategies and Practices: Assessing and Assisting Readers with Special Needs. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-hall
  • Trelease, Jim (1982) The Real-Aloud Handbook
  • Weaver, Brenda (2000). Leveling Books K-6: Matching Readers to Text. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.