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June 13. 2017

Create Lifelong Readers through Independent Reading

Teaching students to read doesn't just happen during guided reading. It happens over a wide range of instruction with varying levels of support. It is through independent reading that students discover their individual tastes, which is one of the first steps to becoming a lifelong reader.

"In order to help students fall in love with reading, give them books they want to read." ~Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

What is independent reading?

Independent reading offers students the chance to read, enjoy, and interact with books that they choose in order to gain "mileage" as readers. During independent reading, students read books of their choosing, while the teacher, through minilessons, helps them apply understandings to their own reading and learn how to choose books they can enjoy. When they enjoy the books they read, they WANT to talk about them! When students share their thinking about books through talk, they build a community of learners around them.

What is the teacher's role in independent reading?

Even though independent reading requires the least amount of teacher support out of all the literacy instructional contexts, teachers still need to be able to guide their choices. If teachers tell a student to go ahead and choose any book, they might not know where to start, which will waste precious time that could be spent reading!  In order to avoid this, teachers will need to confer with them often about what books they're reading in order to discover their tastes and point them in the right direction. It's important to remember, however, that students should choose books according to what interests them, not according to what reading level they're at. 

How can the Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Independent Reading Collection help teachers guide independent reading in the classroom?

Fountas and Pinnell believe that children need to read A LOT in order to build the stamina they need to become a lifelong reader. The Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Independent Reading Collection was curated by Fountas and Pinnell to provide high-quality trade books that help students explore their interests, flourish as readers, and develop the ability to independently read increasingly challenging texts. The collection includes 150 trade titles per grade in K-2 and 200 per grade in 3-6 and a conferring card for each book. Through brief, individual conferences, teachers can observe and extend students' understanding of the text as well as support their thinking. 

The Independent Reading Collection also includes a brief guide that provides an overview of the components and implementation of the collection, as well as Online Resources where teachers can find the resources needed for each independent reading conference, and a video library. To learn more about this exciting collection click here!

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team™ 

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