Inside Your READ 180 Classroom: Independent & Modeled Reading
READ 180 Community Newsletter – Winter 2008
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
This important rotation is often the most challenging to manage. Learn the thinking behind this rotation and get some advice on how to make it work better for you! When creating the structure and materials for the Independent & Modeled Reading rotation of READ 180, I knew that there was one person who could best help me. She was (and still is) one of the country's leading experts in Adolescent Literacy—Janet Allen.
Janet and I came up with some clear goals of what we wanted for the rotation. We wanted students to have access to books of multiple difficulty levels, an array of genres, and lots of nonfiction.
For students who had never committed to reading an entire book before, we wanted to ensure success. We included shorter books in the READ 180 collection so that even the most reluctant and skeptical readers would pick up one of the titles and say, "I can read this."
Ultimately, Janet and I wanted READ 180 students to have a place where they could get what they have missed out on for years and years-reading practice. And we wanted them to have materials that they could and would read.
In the years since READ 180 was launched, hundreds of teachers have told me that our goals have been realized. Students who had never completed a book before are reading one title after another. Nonreaders are becoming readers.
I know that the Independent & Modeled Reading rotation is the hardest one to manage and teachers are consistently asking for more guidance. They want to know, "How can we better manage and get the most out of this rotation?" In response, I turned to trusted READ 180 Trainers, Project Managers, and Implementation Consultants for advice. From hundreds of suggestions, I have selected the five most common tips for the Independent & Modeled Reading rotation:
1. Create Interest. Talk the books up. Read the back covers aloud. You show interest and they'll be interested. Also, talk about yourself as a reader. You may be the best example of an adult who believes that reading matters.
2. Stay Organized. Use colored hanging file folders to organize Quickwrites, Projects, and other materials. Make them accessible to students so they are responsible for obtaining them and putting them away.
3. Use Reading Logs! Predate reading logs to make it easier to see if a student has been absent, hasn't been completing work, etc. It keeps students on-task and makes it easier to keep track of where they are. You may also want to include sentence starters to get students writing. Check reading logs regularly at the beginning of Small-Group instruction or during wrap-up.
4. Make It Comfortable. Students—just like us—read better when they feel comfortable and relaxed. Make your Independent Reading Area the "place to be." One READ 180 teacher even created a "Reading Beach," complete with beach chairs and umbrellas.
5. Let Them Talk. Schedule biweekly or monthly Book Talks during Whole-Group instruction. Sit everyone in a circle, ask them to grab a book they've read (could be a current one or an all-time favorite), and talk about it with the class. Make it a celebration! You'd be amazed how many kids want to read books that their peers have reviewed!
There's no doubt, what we're trying to accomplish during this rotation is difficult. Unlike the other rotations where the skill and strategy goals are clear, in the Independent Modeled Reading Rotation we are trying to change habits and attitudes. That's a daunting task. But you're doing it—one student at a time.
Comments or questions about this column or any other READ 180 topics can be sent to askpatrick@Scholastic.com.