Back to Top

Creating a Successful Independent Reading Environment in Your Classroom

A young child independently reads a book at the library with a pile of books next to her.

A love for independent reading is one of the greatest gifts a teacher can give a student. Reading can improve academic test scores, increase empathy for others and lead to higher levels of general knowledge. 

All those benefits are summarized in study after study. Clearly, independent reading is important for student success. Teachers who want to successfully support independent reading in their classroom can learn the latest tools and techniques through the Fresno Pacific University course, Successful Independent Reading course offered as professional development for teachers. 

It gives teachers the chance to earn professional development credits from an accredited university while also making them experts at creating a love of reading in students and developing a class structure that supports independent reading. 

Reading Provides A Lifetime of Benefits 

While the benefits of reading are frequently found in studies on academic outcomes for students, those benefits extend throughout life. For example, reading for pleasure has been found to reduce burnout in physicians. And one study found just 30 minutes of reading a day can make people happier and healthier.  

Getting students to commit more time to read can further develop a lifelong love of reading. In a recent article for The New York Times, author Ben Dolnick wrote that during a recent power outage, he picked up a book because he no longer had access to Netflix or the internet. He wrote, “And yes, yes, just as you’d expect, it was wonderful, it was cozy, the internet is terrible.”  

He also wrote about the pure pleasure of reading when you give yourself the time to enjoy it. The more you read, the more you want to read. Teachers can play a significant role to instill that kind of love for reading in their students.  

Ideas For Independent Reading 

So, how to get students to read on their own and discover the joys that await them? Reading often is its own reward and leads to more reading. The key is to find ways to get students to start the journey. Some of the methods included in the course are as follows. 

Encouraging accountability 

Teachers have a variety of ways of holding students accountable for reading on their own, which gets them started on developing a love of reading. Doing so helps both the student and teacher keep track of how they are doing - and a chance to discuss what the student is reading. 

Developing a Reading Community 

Much like creating a book club, having the opportunity to discuss what you read with other students helps students keep on track with independent reading. Knowing a conversation on the book will happen also motivates students to do the reading. 

Reading Logs 

Asking students to keep track of what and how much they read, as well as any questions they have, can create accountability and allow them to revisit texts to get answers to their questions. 

What Teachers Learn In the Fresno Pacific University Course 

In the independent reading course, teachers also learn how to mix in fiction and nonfiction books into their classes, as well as adding both classic and contemporary books to their reading list for students.  

By the time they complete the Successful Independent Reading course, teachers will have developed the ability to:  

  • Identify the goals and objectives of independent reading 
  • Identify the key components of an effective independent reading plan and demonstrate a clear understanding of each component 
  • Explain how independent reading helps achieve Common Core State Standards 
  • Identify reading resources for students and teachers on the internet. 
  • Develop techniques and strategies for building community, fostering intrinsic motivation, and developing critical reading skills through independent reading 

With the course offered through an online classroom, teachers anywhere can benefit from taking this course and furthering their ability to foster independent reading skills in students. The Fresno Pacific University course, one of the hundreds offered through the school, gives teachers continuing education credit while expanding their teaching skills. Learn more about how you can improve your student's independent reading, hand in hand with excellent communication skills.