I started thinking about how difficult it can be in the afternoons to keep children interested and on task, particularly when the hot weather starts.
As a student teacher (too many years ago!) we were taught that a Silent Reading session everyday was essential. I am not sure if it is utilized so much nowadays. To be honest, I always used it and it was a godsend in the afternoons as well as an absolute pleasure to watch.
I thought I would share with you how I manage silent reading sessions. I used them in all grades, it doesn’t matter if the Year Ones or Preps cannot ‘read’ the books.
First of all in our room we would have heaps of books available including readers, fiction, non fiction, class made books, big books, encyclopaedias etc.
Before the children go out to lunch, they would each choose 3 books from around the room and place them on their desks. For more popular books, groups would take turns each day.
Once their books were on their desk they could go off to lunch.
I ‘trained’ (not the best word) the children to do this, and when lunch was finished, they went straight to their desks and started Silent Reading.
We had Silent Reading rules and I was very strict on these particularly at the beginning of the year as we all learned the routine.
We read for 15 minutes (depends on the age, older classes could go for longer)
We were definitely NOT allowed to talk at all, or walk around the room. The books chosen before lunch were it – no changing books.
I encouraged it to be a happy time with just you and your books. The littlies would worry that they can’t ‘read’ the books but we soon got over that when we realized they are for enjoying the pictures etc.
If children finished their reading before the time is up they were to sit quietly or put their heads on their desk for a little quiet rest time.
ONE OF THE MAIN ‘RULES’ WAS THAT THE TEACHER HAD TO READ ALSO – FANTASTIC MODELLING. Yes, I know it is very, very tempting to finish off that marking, or hang up those charts BUT not only is it a fantastic down time for the children but is also a great down time for you as a teacher.
I really loved this time of the day. Once the routine was down pat, after our 15 minutes quiet session, then every now and then we would then have a 10 minute sharing time where the children were allowed to share and talk about their books with their peers.
I would love watching the children as they read, they are so precious and it was sooooooooo nice and quiet.
Our routine would finish with the books going back EXACTLY where they belong.
At many schools, Silent Reading sessions occurred throughout the entire school for the first 20 minutes after break everyday. It all worked really well.
ANOTHER LITTLE NOTE…..Don’t be afraid to provide ‘older’ non fiction books for young children. My Year One’s would love ‘reading’ encyclopaedias – their fascination with the world is ignited through these books.
Donna from K-3 Teacher Resources
I use quiet reading time in a number of different ways to help support the reading strategies I am teaching in my classroom. I will sometimes give my students a focus such as “Be prepared to tell your partner at the end of quiet reading, what the “main idea” was in your book OR share something that you made a connection with. Other times I will give them sticky notes and as they read they jot down questions they have as they read to support that particular reading strategy. Other times they will be asked to summarise in a few sentences what their book has been about. I encourage them to read fiction and non fiction in these sessions.
Just goes to show some good things did come out of the 80’s. (Showing my age now)I too have never stopped this but I add 5 extra minutes so that the chidren can quietly share their book, favourite page, with the peron next to them. They love it, I love it – they always ask me what I am reading so I share (don’t take a runchy novel)!!! (ha ha) and it really does give some children time to unwind from lunch.
We used to call it D.E.A.R – Drop Everything and Read. I think the kids all need the time to just sit and relax and enjoy books and is a great way to engage students with individual books.
We enjoy our silent reading as well. I put some soft instrumental music on in the background and after 10 minutes I ask the children to share their favourite part of the book/s or what they didn’t like and why. Sometimes we look for a letter or word that we have been learning about.
I made some bookmarks on colored card stock that showed how to “try out” a book for USSR. Each child chooses a book that looks interesting.
He/She opens to the first page of text and reads
the page. They hold up a finger for every word they don’t know. If at the end of the first page or two, they know that if they have 3 or more words (fingers) up then the book doesn’t fit them.
The same goes for books that they know all the words. This type of book is ok once in a while
but need to be of instructional value.
YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY HEARD THIS.
IN OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WE REFER TO THIS AS,
” SQUIRT ” “SUPER QUIET UNINTERRUPTED READING TIME”
A FUN WAY TO REFER TO THE SAME IDEA
HAPPY SCHOOL YEAR!!
It is also a good chance for children to calm down after a hectic play time – I always program SSR
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