Independent Reading: A look in a kindergarten classroom

2014-12-17 11.45.29Independent reading time is a key component of any reader’s workshop. It looks different at every grade level. What’s important is that we have a time, daily, for kids to read by themselves or with a partner, to choose what they read, and to have time to talk about what they are reading. In my kindergarten classroom, we have book boxes and a book box time every day.  Every child has their own box. Inside the box is a variety of books. There is a Ziplock bag with their “just-right” books. In the bag there are guided reading books, paper books that we have read together as shared reading charts throughout the week, ABC charts, name books, cut apart sentences from guided reading groups and ABC books. Children know that they are to read their baggie books first. There are also “look books” – books they can read the pictures or retell the story. They can choose 5-7 “look books” to put in their book box. These are library books, books from our classroom library and favorites that have been read aloud. This might be a super cool book on snakes, a Pete the Cat book we’ve read out loud several times, a Mo Willems or Todd Parr book from our author study or any good book they find on our shelves. Finally, each child has a poem and song binder that is full of poems and songs we’ve read together as shared reading pieces. Our book box time is social, full of energy and full of engaged kindergarten readers – reading the words, reading the pictures, retelling the books, making decisions as readers and talking about books. Children choose a cozy nook to read, they decide if they are reading by themselves, with a partner or with a group, and they choose what they read – just like readers do. Here is a glimpse into our book box time. Enjoy!


  1. Thanks Katie for giving us a glimpse inside your kindergarten classroom. It seems like that misconception is still floating around out there – that if kids can’t formally read yet, then independent reading time is not needed. I am glad that you give your students the chance to develop concepts of print through independent reading time. This important practice has research to back up its effectiveness AND it is a lot of fun (as we can tell by your videos :-).

    • I remind them every day. We have an anchor chart that we made with photographs to remind them every day. The reality of it is, I’m sure there are some that only read one or two and then go to look books. I keep an eye out as I’m conferencing with kids and moving through the room and will ask those kids if they’ve read all of their just right books and if not, remind them to do that first. I tell them that it’s reading practice that will make them stronger and stronger – just like soccer or karate practice.

  2. Pingback: Independent Reading: A look in a kindergarten classroom | Teachers Blog

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