Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day.

Today we share the first of our challenges to help you cultivate a community of readers before the school year even starts. We’re so glad you’ve decided to come along. 

Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day. Decide when independent reading will happen in your classroom every single day. Put this time on your schedule. Make a commitment to yourself to honor it every day as sacred and non negotiable.


“A child sitting in a quiet room with a good book isn’t a flashy or marketable teaching method. It just happens to be the only way anyone ever became a reader.”   -Nancie Atwell


How can this action help to grow a community of readers?

Commitments drive actions. A commitment to build a true community of readers begins with a commitment to make time for self-selected reading each and every day of the coming school year. Continue reading “Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day.”

Tips to Help Students Develop the Independence They Need So You Can Confer

Question: I want to regularly confer with every reader in my classroom. But, how can I respond to students who persistently seek my attention while I’m trying to confer with others?

Aaron, a second grade teacher, is working to establish both independent reading and conferring in his classroom. However, as soon as he starts to dig in with one student, he finds himself interrupted by other students who want his attention. Joey needs to go to the restroom; Ava has can’t find her book bag; Isaac keeps tattling on the kids around him. Aaron is beginning to wonder if  his kids just aren’t ready for this level of independence yet, or if maybe they need something “more structured” than independent reading to do while he confers.

Because conferring calls on us to be wholeheartedly present with just one student at a time, What will the other kids be doing? often comes up when we talk with teachers about conferring. Our answer is clear and simple: they’ll be reading self-selected texts. After all, conferring is our primary means of reflecting on what students are doing as they read independently, so we can find meaningful ways to cultivate thriving reading lives. In other words, conferring is something we do while students read independently, in order to understand, affirm, and extend how they read independently.

However, helping your students learn to carry on with engaged independence is not something that just happens overnight. This is tricky, ongoing work that takes clarity, patience, and persistence on your part. To get you started we offer a handful of strategies that will work with any age or stage of reading development.  Continue reading “Tips to Help Students Develop the Independence They Need So You Can Confer”