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10 Ways to Promote Independent Reading

By Samantha Stinchcomb
 | Nov 30, 2017

Independent Reading The idea of reading for pleasure is often lost among the various assigned readings and increased emphasis on test preparation. However, strong readers are those who can read and analyze a diverse range of texts. It is important for a student to be able to indulge in independent, self-selected reading both in and out of the classroom. Below is a list of ways to encourage students to read for pleasure as well as tips on facilitating an independent reading culture in your classroom.

  1. Host a book club. Book clubs are a great way to cultivate a community of readers that fosters connectivity through shared reading and discussion. Let the club members choose the books collectively—this encourages students to step outside their comfort zone and explore new genres.
  2. Collaborate with your local library. Invite staff from the local library to your school to introduce students to the many books, programs, resources, and services available to them. Help them obtain a library card and demonstrate all the ways they can use the nearest public library to their advantage.
  3. Host a young author read-aloud. Invite students to read an original story aloud to their peers, educators, and parents. This gives students a platform to showcase their work while helping to build confidence. 
  4. Reenact favorite books. Ask students to create a movie version of their favorite book. This is an opportunity for them to display how they envisioned the characters and events. Allow room for interpretation—let students decide a new ending or a twist in the plot they would’ve liked to see.
  5. Mystery check-outs. Wrap books in wrapping paper and encourage students to blindly choose a “mystery book.” This is a fun way to help students venture out of their comfort zone with a new author, genre, or series.
  6. Make time for independent reading. Set aside around 15–20 minutes per day for independent reading of self-selected books. Encourage discussion afterward to measure students' progress.
  7. Lead by example. Join students’ independent reading time! Make sure they see that you put everything else aside to focus on reading. Share your thoughts on the book you’re reading, and model any close reading or comprehension strategies you employ.
  8. Host a reading-related event. Host a book fair to promote reading as a passion, not an assignment. Invite parents to visit, encouraging at-home reading as well.
  9. Assign a reading log. Ask students to keep track of what and how much they’ve read. Encourage them to write down any questions or comments that may arise, so they can revisit them upon completion.
  10. Get parents involved. Remind parents that the time spent fostering literacy outside of the classroom is just as important as time spent inside the classroom. Check out these tips on ways you can support family literacy. 

There is no one right way to successfully inspire independent reading, but establishing a strong classroom culture of reading is an important first step. Visit TeachThought's "25 Ways Schools Can Promote Literacy And Independent Reading" for more ideas.

Samantha Stinchcomb is an intern at the International Literacy Association.           

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