Independent Reading

Perspectives & Practices of Highly Effective Teachers

Kaitlyn Spani

Section A

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sanden, S. (2012). Independent Reading: Perspectives and Practices of Highly Effective Teachers. The Reading Teacher, 66(3), 222-231.

Themes of a Highly Effective Teacher:

  • Allows for choices to be given to students.
  • Students work at their own level.
  • Students depend less on adults when reading BUT adult support helps student efforts.

How can we, as teachers, support students during independent reading?

How the Teacher Extends Independent Reading:

  • Provides information on reading and how to be a good reader.
  • Requires reading-related activities.
  • Conducts whole group, small group, and one-on-one events and support.
  • Assesses student's independent performance to guide reading instruction.

What are some reading-related activities we can give our students?

How can we assess a student's independent reading performance?


Sherry Sanden’s article on independent reading helped confirm my thoughts on letting students continue to have independent reading within the classroom. As I was reading the article, I kept thinking back to Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, a book on how teachers can cultivate lifelong reading habits in students, where Miller continually says that keeping independent reading time is essential for students to grow and develop their reading skills and fluency. Sanden’s article ties into Miller’s ideas because she provides insights into what a highly effective teacher does to cultivate these reading habits in students. One of the biggest ideas that I got from Sanden’s article was teachers who want their students to succeed let the students make the choices. I think this is so important for students because they are put in control of their own learning. Another big idea I got from Sanden’s article was how teachers can support their students without making students completely dependent on the teacher. Students may want to lean on the teacher at times, but in order to take control of their learning they must take a risk and explore what they can do. I think this aspect of the article will really impact the way I teach because I want students to take control of their learning and not be afraid to try new books. I also want students to become less dependent on me for support during independent reading but still rely on me to help them when they need a book recommendation or want to explore new ideas in a book.