Independent Reading Time

Managing Your Independent Reading Time

Independent reading time is vital to helping students grow as readers.  Find out how to get kids to read and reflect upon their reading with R5.


I know CAFE and Daily 5 are very popular now, but I used a different independent reading system in my classroom.  The ideas came from a book called R5 in Your Classroom by Michelle J. Kelley and Nicki Clausen-Grace.
 R5 review on Good Reads

I tried the Daily 5 and loved the concept but found it to be a lot to manage and difficult to fit into my choppy schedule.  Then I found this book and loved the way it got my students involved in their reading and talking about their reading.  When I was working with small groups or doing individual conferences the students would be readingrelaxingreflectingresponding and rapping.

The book explains in detail how to implement each step in your classroom, but briefly, here are the R5 steps;

Read and Relax:  Students find their designated reading spot and read.  They are responsible for having enough reading materials, their journal, a pencil and sticky notes.  Their reading materials might include books at their level from the class or school library, e-books on a reader, magazines or nonfiction texts, or assigned texts from literature groups.

Reflect and Respond:  Students take a few minutes to think about what they've read that day.  They may have sticky notes to look at again, or notes in a margin if they've read a printed article.  Then they write a reading response in their journals.  

Rap:  This part was different from any other independent reading process I've tried.  During Rap students sit with a partner and talk about their reading.  The partner listens and makes appropriate comments or asks questions.  Then they reverse roles.  We also chose a few students to rap with the whole group.

I feel strongly that students in grades 3 and up need to be given more time in class to read.  By implementing R5 in my classroom I knew my kids were reading at least 30 to 60 minutes every day.   The time depended on their stamina and our daily schedule, but I never skipped R5.  If the day got complicated with crazy activities I always made time for R5. 

Whatever program you use in your classroom, Daily 5, Cafe, literature studies or a basal series, give your students the one thing they need the most....uninterrupted time to read!

 These Reading Chat Cards, from my TPT store,  worked well when my students were discussing their books or writing in their journals.
These cards are a great way for students to sit with a partner and discuss a story.  They also work in a center for reading reflection ideas.



How much time do your students get for independent reading? 



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