Independent Reading 1.0


This was a discussion prompt that introduced my independent reading unit. We just finished a unit on the fundamental literary elements: plot structure, conflict, point of view, characterization, etc. Students will now be applying these skills to their independent reading. I’m sending them out into the literary seas in search of adventure and intrigue. NOTE: This lesson is very 1.0 but I will apply how one can make it a 2.0 activity.


The question: Why do we read fiction?


Eager hands abound!

Some of the responses:

“For Fun”

“To learn”

“To expand our imagination”

“To be taken somewhere”

“To learn about another place or culture”


Yes! It’s working; they understand the purpose of fiction!


I decide to challenge their thinking further.


The question: Those are all good answers, but why should we waste time reading books that are not true?


Students pause momentarily; I can see the critical thinking wheel spinning feverishly.


A HAND!


“We read fiction to travel somewhere we have never been and to experience something new. Like I have never been to China, but I can go there through the author’s perspective.”


I pick myself up since I just fell over from this brilliant response. This question ignites another burning mind.


“We read fiction, like to be taken, say to the past, when we wasn’t around and find out about different historical events through fiction.”


Eureka! I am loving these responses (save for the use of proper English).


This was my class today. I started with a simple question and challenged students with critical thinking. Mind you, these students are all below reading level and were anxious about reading a book outside of our required text. Maybe, it was the aesthetically appealing covers of many new books, or maybe it was the new found ownership they all half over their novel, but what ever the case, they were thinking critically before cracking the page and by god, THEY WERE ENGAGED!


This project is intended for 1.0 instruction. I am not utilizing any form of technology until I first get my kids to read. Their responses are all done…get ready…in a packet. I know, this term is a sacrilege and completely against everything iTeach stands for. However, in one of my previous posts I mentioned using goodreads.com and shelfari.com to foster summer reading. Both of these sites would serve as wonderful forums for housing your responses and tracking the progress of your students. Although these sites work well for the summer reading project, I would definitely transition my packet into a wikispace. This allows for students to post responses, collaborate in a discussion and track their progress. For my students, I would recommend having some form of tracking method that would reward efficient, not fast, readers.


Please let me know if you are doing independent reading through 1.0 or 2.0 methods. My colleagues in the 9th grade are all setting the course in this independent reading project and so far we have had great success with our 1.0 project. I look forward to hearing about different independent reading projects and what your experience has been whether you are a packet or a PC.

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