Fiction, Nonfiction, Student Centered

Unlocking Engagement: Independent Reading Activity Ideas

Do you have restless students during readers’ workshop? Are you looking for ways to engage students with the text? I also have struggled with this for years. I am sharing four independent reading ideas that work with keeping students on task.

Reading Response Journals

independent reading ideas

During independent reading time, I offer students journal choices to choose from. This allows students to select a prompt they want to respond to. The reading response journals are four pages. Each page has reading prompts focusing on a literary element. The journals focus on plot, character analysis, author’s craft, and theme. I also have reading responses templates for nonfiction text. The nonfiction reading journals give students a variety of sentence stems on each page to write about. Reading response journals are a great way to engage students in responding to text.

Stop and Jot Bookmarks

Stop and jot bookmarks are a great way for students to monitor their reading while jotting down their thoughts. This also works well for discussions groups. For example, students can summarize, make connections, and share predictions. I also provide sentence stems on the bookmark as a support for students who need it. This works well for both fiction and nonfiction. Students can also use the stop and jot bookmarks for books clubs to help them prepare for their discussion.

Book Report Templates

independent reading ideas

Students enjoy making a book report pennant using a template. Pennants work for both fiction and nonfiction books. There are a variety of templates to choose from such as vocabulary, summarizing, character analysis, cause-effect, and theme. The reading templates are editable to fit the needs of your classroom. The pennants can be used digitally or printed for student use. The book report pennants also make a great bulletin board display.

Choice Board Templates

Response menus offer students a variety of ways to respond to text. There are nine different options on the response menu. Each response choice has a short description as well as a template sheet. Sometimes, I use the choice board for independent reading tic tac toe. Students choose three ways to respond to what they are reading by selecting three in a row across, down, or diagonally. I have choice boards available for students in both nonfiction and fiction.

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