Independent reading centers on forming routines for becoming a life-long reader.
We use a "Reading Mat" to shape several good habits.
1. "I Read A Stack" (5-6 books) -student stacks their books on their mat.
2. "I Read All My Books"-a tally mark on the front of the folder, keeps track of texts.
3. "I Read My Way Back" -when finished readers read their way back.
Each week first graders are setting goals to "read more and more" books, and to try "scooping up more words" as they read. This means readers try to read smoothly and quickly. The example we use in class is "peanut butter and jelly". When we talk we say it like a smooth, quick phrase. Speakers do not break it into parts-"pea nut but ter and jel ly", or even worse, "peanutbutterandjelly." This phrase brings on the giggles! But we make a clear point that beginning readers DO break words into parts when they are learning to read. THEN, readers smooth out their words and "scoop up their words" into phrases that sound like "peanut butter and jelly"! It is a skill that must be practiced over and over.
One way to support the reading process is to work with a partner. Room 4 readers love partner work!
Partners begin their "work" by reviewing book box cards. As they read to each other they are helping each other read these high frequency words in a "snap", 3 seconds or less.
Next, partners follow the Reading Mat steps, "read a stack... read my way back". Each week we strive to read "a little longer". Building reading stamina is an ongoing goal in first grade.