Independent Reading Spots

I was truly nervous about reading workshop this week.  I made the decision this year to try out independent reading spots.  For years now independent reading has involved the kids sitting at their desks.  It felt controlled and manageable.  However, there were issues.  Kids are close to one another at their tables, and they can easily distract one another.  Also, it is not necessarily how everyone likes to read.  I, personally, prefer to curl up on my couch.

So, this year, I am giving independent spots a try!  I started by taking photos of enough spots in my classroom for every student.  I still need to manage and control things, for better or worse, so I figured this would help alleviate any drama over who sits where.  I then clipped student names to each spot using clothespins to indicate their reading spots.  Here are some photos of my charts:

I do have some students sitting at tables, simply because I do not have enough places around the room to avoid it.  In order to manage this, I only have one student per table (usually the tables seat four).  I put a different colored sticker at each reading spot to differentiate the spots on the chart and spread the kids out.

I also decided not to keep all the pillows and special chairs out all the time.  They are only for independent reading time.  So, when my kids get ready for reading workshop, they get their book bags and go to their designated spot.  If they happen to have a pillow or special seat, they get it out as well.

Now my kids are spread out, comfortable, and calm.  It was LOVELY today!  I know there will be a honeymoon period, but I was so impressed with how the room sounded and looked today.  My little ones were thoroughly engaged with their books, and seemingly happy to have a little space and room to enjoy them.  This is how they looked (faces have been blurred):

Cross your fingers for me that this keeps up!  What does independent reading look like in your room?  Where do your students read?

4 Responses to Independent Reading Spots

  1. Michelle Ramey October 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I have “pillow people” and 4-5 students each day get to read with their choice of the 8 pillows, or seat crates I have on the floor. They love it! I teach a 2/3 combo, and usually don’t have too many issues with students bothering each other during SSR time, though there are always 1-2 that need reminders that we are reading. I went out and bought new colorful pillows to match my new color schemes in my room, they are loving the new ones this year, as I got to keep some of my former 2nd graders as 3rd graders.

    I too love to curl up and read.

    • Teaching Ace October 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      It makes such a huge difference, doesn’t it! I was so nervous, but it went wonderfully! How do you rotate your pillow people? My plan is to have the spots in place for one unit, and then rotate for the next unit. So far no pillow fights, so I am thrilled!

  2. Melissa November 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    This is an awesome idea! I would love to try this out. Was there a honeymoon period or is it still working nicely?

    • Teaching Ace November 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      So glad you are thinking about trying it! It is actually still going very well. I think the key is to change spots every so often. I plan on changing spots for each reading unit (so that will be about five changes over the rest of the year.) Then you kind of create a new “honeymoon.” My kids really love having their own spots. I think my biggest challenge is when they transition out of their spots to move to partner reading. Transitions are always hard!