Building an Independent Reading Culture in the Classroom

Build a Culture of ReadingIn the past, I have had a hard time getting the students in my class to read.

I could get them to pick out books and to look at them, but I couldn’t seem to motivate them to actually read the book or stay quiet during Silent Reading time.

I have finally figured out how to build a culture of reading in the classroom by modelling the behaviour I want to see, having the students practise reading, and working on building up reading stamina together.

Step 1 – Individual Book Bins

Buy some magazine holders from the dollar store and give one to every student in the class.

Step 2 – Picking Books

Teach the students how to pick books that are at an appropriate reading level. You can have them choose one book on a theme that you are working on in your curriculum. You can have them choose a picture book, a novel, a work on non-fiction, and a book of their own choice.

Step 3 – Find Your Reading Spot

I have table groups in my classroom and assign points for good behaviour. I give the winning squad, as I call them, the first choice of reading spots. Many of my students like to sit under the teacher desk that is up against the wall. Some like reading under the conference table. And some prefer the carpet.

Once everyone has found their reading spot, I let them know that we will not be moving from these spot until the time elapses. I sit down and read this first day as well. It’s important to model the behaviour you want to see.

Step 4 – Building Up Stamina

Tell the class that we will read quietly for three minutes only today. They will probably tell you that they can, and want, to read much longer. But we start off in small increments and gradually increase that in the next few weeks.

Let them know that we are working up on building up stamina to read for much longer. The goal is to get to twenty minutes or thirty minutes of quiet reading time for everyone in the classroom.

There is absolutely no talking allowed during independent reading time. Most  of the students will be able to read for three minutes.

Step 5 – Reading Journals

The students will write in their Reading Journal. The date needs to be at the top and the title of the book. Model this on the board. Then give the students 5 minutes to write a response to their book (how they felt, why they choose it, difficult words, I wonder statements)

These ideas come courtesy of

The Daily 5

The Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser

Teaching Tip Tuesday – free resources, tips, and lessons for classroom teachers every week

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