Independent Reading Accountability for Middle and High School
Independent reading is an invaluable tool for student success. It helps to develop reading comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency, as well as a love of reading. Independent reading also helps students to better understand the world around them and think critically and analytically.
Because of its importance, we give students silent reading time during class or assign independent reading as homework. The challenge with this is accountability. We’ve known for years that reading logs don’t work. So how do we hold students accountable for independent reading? Here are some ideas to try.
Book projects are one way to hold students accountable for their reading, and they shouldn’t be long and complicated. Forget the daunting book projects we did as kids, and bring in engaging tasks that students will enjoy. A character locker, a character tattoo, or a novel playlist are a few ideas to try with your students.
Independent Reading Workbooks
Independent reading workbooks are a great option because students work on them continuously while reading their books instead of having an overwhelming assignment when they finish. It’s easy to take a quick glance through them, so you know long before the completion date if students aren’t reading. It’s much easier to help students before they fall behind.
Reading Response Choice Boards
Reading response choice boards are quick and easy for reading accountability. You don’t have to dedicate much class time to use them, and students appreciate being able to choose what prompt they want to answer. They’re also great if you’re focusing on one element of literature because you can provide students with a choice board with a specific focus.
Book talks are one of the best forms of accountability if you want to add speaking and listening skills to your lesson plans. Students present their books to the class in a way that convinces others to read them. Just make it clear they shouldn’t give away the ending.
Conferencing with students to discuss their books during silent reading time is a nice way to connect with students. Conferences work well with smaller classes. If you have larger classes, time can be a challenge. You may not get to every student in one class period.
Before you leave with new accountability ideas, just remember that there is a fine line between holding students accountable for reading and making reading unenjoyable. We want our students to grow as readers, but we also want them to enjoy reading. Students do not need an assignment every time they read. They need to know that reading can be done for enjoyment too.