This book completely validates my ideas of independent reading! You gotta love that! I have used a workshop approach with my students for about the last 15 years. I currently use the CAFE/Daily 5 ideas as my management system. I am not a purist with them however, and I use major pieces from them with other ideas I have gained from experience.
My students have total choice in their independent reading. (I can SO remember a job interview 14 years ago where I told the principal that we didn't read a bunch of books as a class, but that the kids did activities on their own personal reading--his expression is burned into my memory. Needless to say, I didn't get the job!) I often recommend books to individual readers. During conferencing, we discuss whether their current book is a just-right fit. We discuss how all readers sometimes read books that are too easy for them, and sometimes struggle through or read the pictures in a book that is too hard for them. It is good for them to think about how doing this helps us to grow as readers.
It is hard to find enough time in the day to offer the students to read. My students typically get about 30 minutes uninterrupted time to read. Many of my students pick up books at other times of the day with my encouragement. However, I like Ms. Miller's idea of stealing reading moments. I am going to work on this this year. I used to read more often while my students read, but now it feels like I have too many conferences or groups to meet with. I think that I will try to use these "stolen" moments as a way to fit in/model my own reading for the kids. I'll be able to show my excitement about having a chance to JUST READ.
I have to tell you that if my schedule allows, my independent reading time is first thing. What a great way to start the day. Students check in and move into their independent reading. Student response to this time of day has always been good. They love the way that they get to ease into the day and the independence they feel as their morning begins.
My students are allowed to sit wherever they wish for independent reading. Some lay on the carpet, some are under their desks, some sit on the beanbags, and some stay in their desks. I also have some with stamina or reading problems who are on a computer listening to a story. I have had couches in my classroom, but currently that won't work. It is hard in a classroom with 30 desks to designate a good reading area. When I had a carpeted classroom, that was my favorite! Kids were all over! Now I have carpet placed in various places, but it is not enough space for all of them to be on the carpet. (My classroom is still brand new, so I am still working on creating good spaces. Because it is new, we are a little limited on what we can bring in, too...)
Great chapter! It encourages me to keep doing what I have been doing with small tweaks for each new group of students. I liked it when she said, Reading is not an add-on in the classroom; it is the cornerstone. Totally.
Can't wait to read others' ideas!