Creating an Atmopshere for Independent Reading

I have struggled with independent reading for the past few weeks. My students are loud, talkative and not interested in reading. During Independent Reading, I expect to see all my students reading a book that is on their level. I want to see them taking notes about important things, new words and questions they have. I want to see them engaged in their book and not talking to the person sitting next to them. These are my expectations, and for the last 3 weeks, this has not been the case. So yesterday I tried something new ... and it worked!!! I did the same thing today and it worked again, so I am going to share my new strategy with you.

First, I spoke briefly with my class about Independent Reading and what I expect to see and hear. Then I gave my students a few minutes to find a book and get back to their seats. This took about 10 minutes to get everyone a book and quietly in their seats. I turned off the lights and everyone started reading. The lights off created a more calm and relaxing atmosphere. I started looking around I had about 6 students who were reading books that were not on their level or not reading at all. I spoke with these students one on one and together we found book that they could read that looked interesting to them. Once I had all students reading quietly with their books, I got a book and starting reading as well (I think this is what made the difference).

Whenever, anyone started to talk or be disruptive I would stop reading and look at them (not say anything( and let them know that they were distracting me from reading. They got back to reading immediately.

I think yesterday and today were successful because of three things:
1) Each students had a book that they were interested in.
2) The atmosphere was calm and relaxed.
3) They saw me reading and knew that they should be doing what I was doing.


My Viewpoint said...

Don't you think that turning of the lights leads to a sleepy enviornment and can cause students to be drowsy. Secondly, it can also affect their eye-sight.
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Melissa said...

For some classrooms this may not work. In my class I have alot of natural light because one of the walls in my class is all windows. So really they are reading in natural light instead of artifical light.

No the students do not get sleppy, maybe if they were in elementary school they would, but my students are in middle school (10-14 years old).