#24 - Chapter 6: Sustained Silent Reading: Dedicating Time for Independent Reading

Hello All,

I do not have a huge list of ways to support learners to read outside of the classroom in addition or as an alternative to reading in class. I do two things:

  1. Ask students to find news stories (not sports or entertainment related) on a topic of their interest to read. After reading, write their thoughts on the story. Share what you would have or could do differently if this happened to you, family member, in your neighborhood, town, city, etc.
  2. Read a book and/or magainze! This could be to their child every night and/or for their own pleasure. If they did the former, write about what you read to your child. What questions did your child have, if any? Why was this particular book chosen? If it is the latter, I ask for a quick summary of the book and/or current chapter they read.

I think getting students to read what they want more than assigning them readings is where they will be more participatory. I know this is not always the case in that we cannot avoid assigning them readings they have no interest in reading. To that end though, I find or try to make sure I find reading assignments that are relevant to their interest and the world that is going on around them.




Holly and all, We all know that to improve reading skills, there is no substitute for extensive reading. Offering choice is clearly necessary, especially for reluctant readers. How I wish I had shelves of high interest readers in my classroom for students to borrow. I need to start building this library!

One source I have drawn upon routinely is the Marshall Adult Education's Reading Skills for Today's Adults. They offer online reading selections on topics of interest to adults at a range of reading levels, from 0.7 reading level to 8th grade. Learners can both read and listen to the text on the website. There are also vocabulary and comprehension exercises accompanying each article that can be downloaded to complete.

This term I plan to have learners keep a reading log and give them a few minutes to talk in class, as Holly does, about what they are reading.

What reading resources have members found helpful?

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP



I would like to suggest 3 free online resources for texts for student reading.  Adult Learning Activities is part of the California Distance Learning Project http://www.cdlponline.org/ .  This site has articles on a variety of topics which can be read or listened to. Some of the articles have a basic version and a full article version.  NewsELA https://www.newsela.com/ has articles on curent events. Each article is written at 4 or 5 different lexile levels so students at different reading levels can all access the same information.  ReadWorks http://www.readworks.org/ has articles at a variety of levels along with vocabulary and comprehension questions. The last two sites are designed for K-12 but many of the articles are suitable for our adult students.

Thank you Holly, Susan, and Di for all of these ideas and resources. I love that these are online. One of my biggest challenges in creating a library is that my "office" is a rolling suitcase! 

Did you see that newsela has added a writing prompt to all their passages? You can edit the prompt too! The student and teacher can annotate the article as well. In other words a teacher can add Think aloud to the article by highlighting and then typing in their thoughts!

Thanks, Meg! I've used newsela, but have not yet seen this new feature. I'll definitely be checking it out.

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP

I have used both www.newsela.com and www.readworks.org and the students have liked the articles which were chosen. It also is great to use when using differentiated learning since they are all reading the same article/story everyone can participate in the conversation and comprehension questions and or writing. A win- win!

Have any of you tried ReadTheory at readtheory.org?  My students enjoy doing it because it adapts to their individual ability levels.  As a student completes a reading activity, the next reading either increases or decreases in difficulty based upon the student's results.  Students like the visual the graph provides so they can "see" their growth.  When the reading drops a level, most of the students strive to reverse the graph.  Although it is an individual activity that many of them choose to do as homework, students do visit about their challenges with one another.  When they have logged on during class to complete a reading, I have enjoyed watching them apply some of their questioning strategies as they complete the readings.

I will have to try ReadTheory again.  We experimented with it a couple years ago, but moved onto other sites.  I think when I tried it , it was still in a development stage, so thanks for the tip.