The teacher and I talk after school about this continuous dance between reading support and classroom instruction to make it work so we can both work with students to help them catch up to peers. I love these conversations. I'm always amazed by the willingness of teachers, whose plates are so full, to grapple with these big questions and find solutions. We both want to make the best use of student time and both understand the need to make quick shifts with these learners.
We both also worry about independent reading. We know these students need time to read independently as much, if not more, than their peers. Structured independent reading times give readers opportunity to:
- read continuous text
- develop a reading niche
- connect with peer readers
- practice new strategies and understandings
- build reading stamina
- to fall in love with books (this should be first)
In this particular classroom, students have time immediately after lunch before they go to special to read. This twenty minute block brings us some peace of mind, but we continually talk and adjust to make the most of the time students have available.
The need to provide quality independent reading time to readers needing to make gains is a continual challenge. The solutions are not always obvious or easy. Additionally, what works in one classroom or with one student does not always work in other cases. We push ourselves to keep an open mind, remain flexible, and continually adjust. Ultimately, we need to see growth in readers and keep a close eye on forward momentum. Independent reading is a luxury developing readers need to enjoy.
I'd love to hear from you. How do you make time to meet with readers receiving intervention and carve out time for student independent reading?