What is Independent Reading?
Independent Reading is one component of balanced literacy during which students interact with text in a focused, intentional and purposeful way. It is a systematic way for teachers to guide and support students as they read on their own with a starting and stopping point and a clear, concise objective while they read. Students have the opportunity to reinforce skills and strategies they have been working on with a teacher, on their own. Working in this way allows for kids to practice independence during reading within a text that is easy for them to read and decode.
Independent Reading is different from Silent-Sustained Reading because there is a specific learning objective designed by the teacher being worked on during the specified time. Students are practicing, applying and extending specific reading strategies learned during prior instruction.
Students must be in appropriate text at their independent reading level (the level at which they can read without support). There must be sufficient and varied supplies of books available. Also, key components leading to success include, establishing classroom environment conducive to reading comfortably, effective procedures and routines, and appropriate instruction, conferring and observation. Independent reading also helps kids to learn to love reading because they have choice in the materials they are using.