By Bridget Winter - Section D - September 10th 2015

points to ponder

  • roughly 94% of students do better with reading comprehension in free reading programs (223)
  • students should be given choices for independent reading
  • students should be independent when solving reading problems
  • hold the students accountable when reading --> i.e. describe a character

My opinion

After reading this article and analyzing the contents I believe that understanding how to effective use independent reading time is crucial in a classroom. I was introduced to different concepts and ideas about independent reading for students and the relationship it has with success in reading. In the article Sherry Sanden states, “… students in the most effective and moderately effective schools spent more time independently reading than did students in the least effective schools” (223). I remember in my elementary school that we had A.R. reading time every day whether it was for five minutes or twenty minutes. I enjoyed that time because I could read more of what interested me and I viewed it as a fun time to read. As a teacher I know that I want to incorporate independent reading time into each day. I want to utilize the ideas this article gives including colored dots on books indicating reading level, too-hard too-easy and just-right books, and finally the successful reading behaviors. This article will change how I want to teach because I am more aware of how important it is for students to read books that interest them. Sanden observed a first-grade class who were individually given a “Bag of Books” that holds the students’’ interest books. After observing a day in the classroom Sanden stated, “Students are not quiet about their reading: they read aloud, discuss pictures and other items of interest with classmates” (222). This observation proves how independent reading excites students. I am excited to be a teacher and hear all the conversations my students will have about the superheroes they are reading about or the mysteries they want to solve. This article has impacted my perspective on independent reading because of the data provided and the observations from a diverse group of classrooms.

Classroom setup:

"... providing elementary students with opportunities to make choices in reading activities increases their motivation to participate."(p. 225)

discussion questions

How will you guide your students to choose books that interest them but are still at their reading level?

How can you incorporate independent reading into your daily routine as a teacher?

Sanden, S. (2012). Independent reading: perspectives and practices of highly effective teachers. The Reading Teacher, 66(3), 222-231. Retrieved September 4, 2015, from