Erin Rice
Lesson Design for Growing Independence and Fluency

I Read On My Own!

Rationale: In order for students to become better readers, they must be able to read fluently and independently. To be independent readers, students should be encouraged to read voluntarily.  This lesson will promote voluntary reading by showing children how to choose books on their own, integrating student discussion groups into class time, and providing silent reading time in the classroom.


1.  [Teacher will introduce lesson.] We all want to become independent readers, but to be independent, we have to like to read on our own.  This also means you have to learn how to read on your own.  Today we are going to learn how to choose books to read on our own, as well as learn how to discuss our reading with our classmates, so that we can like to read on our own.

2. [Review cross-checking] First, let’s review how to make sure we are reading what the text actually says.  [Teacher opens Di and the Mice.] I am going to read this first sentence, “Di likes to run her bike.” Run her bike? That doesn’t really make sense. Let me read that again and make sure I have the right word. How about, “Di likes to ride her bike?” Yes, that makes much more sense.

3.  [Discuss choosing a book based on child’s reading level.] The first part of beginning to read on our own is choosing a book.  Not everybody will like the same books, so it is important that you choose a book you think you will like; otherwise, reading will not be fun. I am going to show you how to choose a book that you would like to read.  First, we have to make sure that the book we choose is not too hard for us. We are going to do this by using the “Two Finger Rule.” We are going to read the first page and put up one finger each time we come to a word we do not know.  If you have two fingers in the air after you are through reading, that book is too hard.  [Teacher models a book that is too hard using Di and the Mice. Teacher should stumble over three words and keep three fingers raised. Next, teacher should read Pen Pals, and lift 0-1 fingers after the first page.]  This second book is better for me because I had less than two fingers in the air.

4.  [Discuss choosing a book based on content] Not only do we want to make sure that the book we choose is on our reading level, but we want to make sure we are going to enjoy what we are reading.  Sometimes books have a summary on the back cover. We can read that summary to see if we think we would be interested in the book.  Other times, we should think about the topic of the book.  [Teacher shows Cats Are Good Company.] For example, if I am really not interested in reading about cats, I should probably skip this book and keep looking for another.  Don’t just rely on the pictures in the book to make your choice.

5. [Teacher takes class to the library. Students should be directed towards the books that are on their independent reading level.  Provide students with the sample booklist provided in the materials section; however, allow the students to each choose their own book.  This should be done as often as possible.]

6. [Teacher provides children with silent reading time. This should be provided every day for the children.  The teacher and children should be reading during this time. During the upcoming school days, the students should be scheduled a time to discuss their books with the teacher. Teacher should ask the child questions regarding how the child felt about main characters, resolution, etc.

7. [To assess whether children are reading independently, teacher should introduce Independent Reading Logs.  Children will use these to keep track of the reading that they do on their own. Children will keep track of the number of pages they read, having a parent monitor and initial each day’s reading.]

Sample Independent Reading Log:

I Can Read On My Own!

Book Title
Number of Pages Read
Parent Signature
1. 1. 1. 1.
2. 2. 2. 2.
3. 3. 3. 3.
4. 4. 4. 4.
5. 5. 5. 5.
6. 6. 6. 6.
7. 7. 7. 7.
8. 8. 8. 8.
9. 9. 9. 9.


Reference: Wilson, P. (1992). Among Non-Readers: Voluntary Reading, Reading Achievement, and the Development of Reading Habits. In C. Temple and P. Collins (Eds.) Stories and Readers: New perspectives on literature in the elementary school classroom (pp. 157-169). Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon.

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