Independent Reading

Independent Reading is a cornerstone of language arts.

Reading is the key to success; it’s as simple as that. Studies show that students who are strong readers are strong writers and perform better on tests. More importantly, they become more powerful and confident thinkers, better able to meaningfully participate in society. Therefore, we must read and read a lot! As is the case with any skill, reading needs to be practiced and practiced often. However, reading also must be enjoyed, loved, and looked forward to.

In order to help foster a passion for literacy, Ms. Jeffers provides Independent Reading time each day at the beginning of class. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to independent reading because students are also expected to be reading outside of class and working toward the 40 Book Challenge!

There are three parts to the Independent Reading Project:

1) Independent Reading: Students are expected to come to class prepared and ready to read. They should have a book of their choosing with they every single day, and we will always begin class by reading. Students should also be reading an average of 25 minutes a night outside of class (I require this of myself as well, and, trust me, I know this can be a challenge; I’m busy too! However, reading is one of the most important things we can all do to improve our academic success!).

2) Book Talks: Twice a quarter, each student is expected to give a short presentation on a book he/she is reading. Don’t think of these as book reports as much as conversations about books or book commercials.

3) Book Club: A few times a month, students will engage in Book Club where they have conversations – oral and written – with other members of the class. These discussions are informal, but the goal of them is to get students talking about books, gathering ideas for future reading, and increasing their interest in reading.

Important Information: The 40 Book Challenge

The 40 Book Challenge is definitely a challenge for most students! In fact, reading 40 books in one school year is a challenge for me as well sometimes since it averages to roughly one book a week. That may seem scary and impossible, but believe me – it is possible!

The 40 Book Challenge is a personal challenge for every student in class, and it is not a competition between students! There are no winners and no losers. It is all about pushing yourself and concentrating on challenging yourself with a tough but attainable reading goal, and every step along the way will be a celebration.

Because of this, The 40 Book Challenge is not for a grade. You do not have to do anything upon completion of each book besides make a quick note that you completed it and grab something new that interests you. However, please note that in this class whether you read or not is a choice; you will read, but what you choose to read is up to you! Find something that interests you, and if you are having trouble with that, ask!

40 Book Challenge Explanation


Below I’ve attached a few handouts that we use to get started on our independent reading journey.

IR Letter:Reading Plan

Book Talk Expectations:Rubric (1st Quarter)

Common Literary Genres

Good Books List

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