How Free Choice Independent Reading Can Benefit Students

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Can school diminish a child’s love of reading? Students naturally find they love to read when they choose their own reading materials. Yet, when those materials are taken away, or a student feels forced to read a book they dislike, a child’s passion to read can decline.

Independent reading programs have been used in many classrooms to help encourage children to enjoy reading on their own to improve comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. These programs give students an opportunity to choose from a selection of reading materials and build confidence in making their own decisions.

When students have an opportunity to choose reading materials, they have more ownership in their education and make reading a priority. This doesn’t mean students can read any material of their choice; there is still structure within an independent reading program. Students must read books on their reading level and cannot rely on a teacher for support in comprehending the material.

Benefits of independent reading programs

Teen readingEngagement increases

Children who connect with meaningful reading materials experience greater reading achievement. The amount that a child spends actively reading can be a significant indicator of this reading achievement.

Stronger reading skills are developed

Fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary increase when students have a greater desire to read more regularly.

Students are more actively involved in learning

As reading skills improve, students are better prepared to comprehend other classroom reading materials and subjects.

Students are more excited to share what they learn

Students want to share what they learn with their classmates and gain a desire to know more about the topic they chose. Giving children an opportunity to discuss their chosen reading material can help reinforce what they learned.

How do you bring independent reading into the classroom?

  • Offer a selection of books at each student’s reading level
  • Encourage students to read a variety of books from different genres
  • Let each student make a reading list of five books they want to read
  • Allow for open discussion in the classroom so students can discuss reading materials

With Curriculet, our new independent reading program for grades 3-12, educators can achieve these important goals while also directing and enhancing their student’s reading experience with curriculum that can be embedded within a text or used alongside it.

Building skills for future learning

Students who engage in reading a diverse list of topics and genres can lay the foundation for learning a variety of subjects in school. Choosing their reading material gives students a greater desire to dive deep into reading for a lifetime. Students also assume more ownership in their learning when they have a choice and feel more motivated to explore reading materials that can benefit their learning in the future.

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