Many children use reading as a leisure time activity. When it comes to Independent reading, it exposes them to different kinds of books, characters under a definite time overall grade levels.
There are many benefits in reading, and kindergarten is the best stage for children to practice reading because it is the foundation for their future career.
When they learn to read in kindergarten, they will carry that practice for the future and have many important benefits. Therefore, this article is all about independent reading time at kindergarten.
So, what is independent reading time? Simply, it can be defined as; reading books, newspapers, magazines without the assistance of a teacher or an adult. So, children will reach higher achievements in reading. They can improve their vocabulary, reading and writing skills, etc.
As a teacher, you can do many things for this, like; treating reading as something very valuable, involving students in your demonstrations, breaking large lessons into mini-lessons, and making sure not to stop the process going on in the whole class due to a struggle between two students, blame yourself if the students haven’t reached the goal that you expected after a month. So, you can convey the process clearly to the students by; using a timer, arranging a classroom library for effective independent time for reading at the kindergarten.
Accordingly, in this article, I have covered what independent reading time is, why independent reading at kindergarten is important, what to do and not to do related to independent reading time at the kindergarten.
Finally, I have provided some tips for effective reading time at the kindergarten. Let’s get started!
What is independent reading time?
Reading is not a new thing for people. But what is independent reading time? It is important to know about this to teach it effectively for kids at the kindergarten.
Why did we select kindergarten for that? It is the foundation for the future career of children. Therefore, we should insert useful things effectively at this period.
Accordingly, in the independent reading time, children are directed to read the books according to their choices. There, they may read silently and softly. And also, they will draw and write what they read in a notebook without asking to do so.
So, they will be able to spend sustained time and gain opportunities to improve their thinking abilities, engage with books without outside involvement, and increase their competitiveness.
Therefore, it is recommended to spare about 30 minutes per day for independent reading at the kindergarten.
Every child gets the chance to select a book they like from the well-organized, rich book collection. The organization of books here is to be done according to the authors, themes, series, illustrator, genres, etc.
So, the students can read a book within the areas of their interests. Here, as they are still small children, you can help them make good choices through mini-lessons without harming their interests.
It can make a good opportunity to share thoughts via discussion and help to sharpen the thinking abilities through conferences.
Why is the independent reading time important?
When talking about independent reading time, we can find many benefits, which show the importance of independent reading. So, here, let’s see the reasons for this importance in detail.
1. Increase of the engagement
When the students deal with useful and meaningful books, they reach higher achievements in reading.
This is indicated by the time that the children spend on independent reading. They will actively engage in it and experience greater achievements.
2. Development of the reading skills
The vocabulary of the students who read books will increase, and they will improve their comprehension and fluency.
So, independent reading is a good opportunity to express ideas in different ways by improving vocabulary and comprehension.
3. Involving actively in learning
The students who are engaged in independent reading can improve their vocabulary and comprehension.
Accordingly, they will be active and clever in all the other academic activities because they can quickly read and understand any reading material in the classroom.
4. Students will be excited to share the things they learn
Here, the children will share their reading experiences with their other classmates. There, they try to gather more information on their areas of interest.
Also, they could learn new things under various topics. So, this also will be an additional learning process that goes beyond the traditional learning techniques.
5. Independent reading time increases Mental stimulation
Under independent reading, children will choose what they like to read without any external force. Therefore, they will happily read what they like most.
It will increase their reading skills and help for mental stimulation. It helps to release academic stress. So, they will happily engage in any activity through the mental stimulation they own by independent reading.
6. Strengthening the brain
The kindergarten students are very small, and their brains are still growing. So, when they read a lot, they will strengthen their thinking capacity, understanding, creativity, imagination, etc.; these are the signs of their brains’ strength.
7. Increasing the confidence and motivation
Here, the term independent reading itself conveys the idea of independence. Children are allowed to choose a book alone to read according to their choices.
So, they improve their confidence by thinking that they can make choices in life. Following that, they will be motivated to read more with the strength of the confidence created by independent reading.
What to do and not to do during the independent reading time?
Independent reading time can be cited as a precious period for children. But, as teachers, you have many things to consider when giving them the chance to engage in independent reading. So, here let’s talk about things to do and not to do during this time.
What should you do in your independent reading time?
1. Treat independent reading as something valuable
The teachers should try to build the strength of reading within their children. You should spare about 1-2 minutes of independent reading time at the start and gradually increase the period.
So, convey that reading is a valuable treatment for supplementing their future career. Before creating the routines, you have to expose the real validity of independent reading.
You can show your example here. Tell them how you were successful with independent reading by displaying your favorite books, photos of your reading place at home, etc. It will encourage them to read more and more.
2. Model desired behaviors by involving children in your demonstrations
Here, show them what you expect from reading and let them keep practicing. As an example, you can teach this as if teaching them to write a personal narrative or solve a mathematical problem.
It can be done as mini-lessons. As an example, you can show some demonstrations by saying that; today, I will show you to sit by crossing your eyes on the book.
Then ask a child to follow the desired model behavior, and ask another child to show what should not be done. Then ask them to follow the desired behavior. Then children will learn automatically to engage in independent reading properly.
3. Teach mini-lessons related to independent reading
Here, you can practice children the way of treating books carefully, way of starting to read immediately, the way of building up stories based on pictures, way of learning from the photos of nonfiction, the way of telling a story they have read, way of respecting the reading friends, what can be done when a reading friend bothers you, way of packing books in a box or a bag, way of using a classroom library, etc. Then children will effectively engage in independent reading.
4. Promoting alternative ways of reading
You can go to new reading methods instead of traditional reading styles. There, you can ask them to read the pictures and build up a story; retell a story that you have already read and learn from photos or pictures.
5. Using positive reinforcement
Here, you have to appreciate the positive behaviors of children when they are engaging in independent reading. Highlight them in front of their friends. It will be a good motivation for them to read more and practice their positive behaviors.
Also, you can take their photos while reading and show them after they are finished with it. It will be the best motivation for them, and they will like it.
6. Give them choices but not for all at once
It is better to give students a chance to choose the books they like. Then you can study their choices, the way they respond to various texts, etc. But it is not a good idea to let this be done at once for all.
Accordingly, give the chance to adapt to it gradually. So, you can first give them a book basket kept on the table and then teach them to use the classroom library systematically.
Also, before assigning an independent reading spot, let them practice reading at their tables. Then give them the chance to select the independent reading spot they like.
7. Tracking and celebrating the progress
You can visually display students’ progress on independent reading through a bar graph.
You have to mark the gradual increase of the time duration that they have engaged in independent reading.
8. Motivating the students with sharing time
This is a precious experience for students because they get the chance to share their ideas, pictures, or a part of a book with their friends.
It will give more benefits like; teaching them good communication, learning new things, not letting children isolate themselves, etc. So, manage your time and spare a few minutes for this.
What you should not do
1. Stop the whole class due to a struggle between one or two students
If one or two students go out of the track, don’t make it a reason to stop the whole process of independent reading. Give them time to adapt to the situation and engage them with expectations, revisits, etc.
Do not give up the main intention of this process depending on a small track out. There will be problems with their attention, behaviors, and emotions.
But, if you stop the whole program, the other students will lose their opportunities. So, you may do what you feel is right for the sake of your students. Try your best to have the contribution of all students.
2. Do not blame yourself if the students do not reach the intended target even after a month or two
Some students may be out of track even after a month or two, but do not blame yourself for that. You should remember that they are still children and all children are not the same.
Some of them will take more time to get on the correct track. Give them enough time to change, and you may see that they will gradually reach the achievements of independent reading time.
Tips for an effective independent reading time
Kindergarten is the best opportunity to build the foundation for the future career of children.
Therefore, independent reading also can be practiced for those children as extra strength for their career.
As teachers, you can do many things to make an effective independent reading time. So, here let’s talk about those tips in detail.
1. Convey children about the process at an independent reading center
There is no exact way to implement this center. Accordingly, some teachers allow children to read books in the book tubes at their tables, and others like to implement the process through the classroom library.
As an example, you may allow children to select two books from the classroom library and take them to their book box for reading.
So, they can read at their table or in the classroom library. The major target here is to practice the students for independent reading.
2. Using a timer
Here, you can use a sand timer which will be very interesting for the children. It would say when to start and when to stop reading.
This will motivate children to read before all the sand flows down. So, they will enjoy independent reading more than you expected.
3. Organizing the classroom library effectively
A well-organized classroom library will direct your children to the correct choices. They will easily find their interested books within the arrangement. There, you should make sure;
- Easy access for children to look and search for a specific thing.
- The books need to be clearly labeled.
- Implementing a procedure to return the books easily.
4. Giving a chance for students to select the books they like
This may be a difficult decision for a teacher, but this is the best way of implementing independent reading. Here, the children will be excited to choose what they want.
It will be a motivation for them and build up their personality. But make sure to keep an eye on what they choose.
5. Providing different options of reading for the children
Apart from the guided reading books in the library of the classroom and the book boxes, it is good to include various kinds of other books.
The kindergarten children face challenges under the independent reading center as a new experience at the beginning. Of course, they will quickly go through the books.
There, you can save mini-readers by providing books related to social science or science in their book box. It may be a picture book that attracts children to take a look.
Also, if you can renew the book collection, it will be fun for children to learn new things. Not only that, but you can also add song and poem books every week which will be helpful for children to improve their vocabulary and have fun and enjoyment.
6. Creating a pleasant environment
Suppose you can create an independent reading center quite different from where they generally sit and work. In that case, they will be more likely to engage in reading.
There, you can put colorful rugs in the library where children can read. Also, a fun lamp will be helpful for children to comfy or turn pillows to relax themselves.
7. Using reading buddies
Here, you can keep a beanie baby basket near the classroom library. So, they can enjoy reading with their animal friend.
You may see how students enjoy reading by laying with their buddies and whispering what they read. It will be very funny, and children will enjoy the reading process.
8. Extending an independent reading center for advanced children
If you have children of grade 1 or 2, you may extend the reading center. You can apply new techniques like; jotting down questions from what they are reading while they read, recording new words that they add for the vocabulary, writing a summary of what they read, etc.
But make sure not to forget the major goal of this independent reading center is to read, not to write. So keep those writing processes in brief.
Final thoughts about Independent reading time and it’s benefits
We have discussed; independent reading time at kindergarten with more details. I think this article will be important for all the teachers who teach the kindergarten as I have covered much-related information like; what is independent reading time, why independent reading at kindergarten is important, what to do and not to do related to independent reading time at the kindergarten and finally, I have provided some tips for an effective reading time at the kindergarten.
Independent reading can be simply cited as; giving a chance for students to choose the books they like to read. Here, kindergarten is the best place to practice as it lays the foundation for their future career. Accordingly, independent reading is very important for many reasons: increased engagement, development of reading skills, active involvement in learning, etc.
Also, as teachers, you should; treat independent reading as something valuable, model desired behaviors by involving children in your demonstrations, teach mini-lessons related to independent reading, etc.
And make sure not to; stop the whole class due to a struggle between one or two students, and do not blame yourself if the students do not reach the intended target even after a month or two.
You can follow tips like; conveying to children about the process at an independent reading center, using a timer, organizing the classroom library effectively, etc., to implement independent reading effectively. So, likewise, you can contribute positively to the career of your students at the kindergarten.
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