Updated: Jan 4, 2021
It’s silent reading time. Close your eyes and imagine your classroom. NOW, raise your hand if you can imagine a student looking around, a student touring the classroom, a few students talking, and a student waiting at your reading group table with an emergency question. We’ve all been there. Reading time can be hard.
Reading independently is HARD when you are learning how to read.
Remember, your students may not know how to read independently. So many things we do at school takes lots of explicit teaching and modeling. Reading time is one of them. It’s hard to do something for an extended period of time if you have no idea how to sustain it.
Now let’s picture a classroom full of independent readers...
Imagine yourself teaching a small group. There is no interruptions. When you look around you see every student in their own space, eyes on their book, pages turning. The room is peaceful. Reading group is productive and your independent readers are taking everything in.
Model and set expectations clearly with your students.
Each year when I am ready to start quiet reading with my students, I sit down in my teacher chair and I read a book in front of my students. I read it terrible. I hold the book upside down, I look all around the room, I get up and walk around, I keep switching books, you name it! My students love to point out all the things I’m doing incorrectly. THEN, we start our anchor chart.
We use our anchor chart to make a list of all of the things we should do to stay focused and do the very best we can during quiet reading time. We refer back to this chart often, especially during the first week or so to reinforce the expectations. I will specifically call out students who are doing a great doing during quiet reading time so that students know I am noticing their great reading.
In addition to this, we start with a short amount of time and then gradually work up to a longer amount of reading time. Most years I add on one additional minute each day until we reach the full amount of our quiet reading time. I display a timer on the board to help us stay on track.
We continue these anchor charts to set clear expectations for all of our centers so that students build realistic stamina and independence.
Primary students are independent!
Building stamina and independent students may seem like a challenge when chaos is present, but I promise you that with time and clear expectations you students can do it, too. Work together as a class so that students are a part of the team that creates class expectations.
The first step to building an independent classroom is to create clear expectations and model them for your students. Click here to grab a free set of anchor chart templates and get started today!