What independent work options are you providing your students during Being a Reader?

By Lenora Forsythe | Categories: Reading

Independent Work in Being a Reader provides the students with choice in what they do as they read, write, and complete word work independently. The students have time for extensive practice on concepts and skills that are taught in “¨a whole-class setting across the language arts block. It also gives them practice in working responsibly while you work with small groups or individual students.

We are often asked, “What Independent Work options might we provide to students during Being a Reader Independent Work?” Our hope is to share the independent work options that teachers of Being a Reader can provide to their students.

Before we delve into a few independent work options, let’s take a look at some of the resources for Independent Work the program features.

Independent Work Resources in Being a Reader

  • Independent Work Resources Appendix B in volume 2 of the teacher’s manual provides guidance and recommendations for independent work along with access to the mini-lessons for the independent work check-in lessons.
  • The Week Overview provides guidance for independent work rotations. The Week Overview is the first page of each week of instruction in the teacher’s manual.
  • Independent Work Check-ins occur weekly and provide guidance for providing lessons to support the development of independent work habits.
  • Independent Work Connections occur weekly in the grades K-1 shared reading lessons, and in grade K handwriting and grade 2 word study sections of each week of instruction in the teacher’s manual.

Poetry Readers

The poetry readers provide familiar reading material for the students to reread often, on their own and in pairs.

Each student is responsible for maintaining a poetry reader for copies of poems they learn during the Shared Reading lessons.


In Kindergarten, the poetry readers are introduced in Week 10. See page 230 in the teacher’s manual for more information.

In a kindergarten classroom, the teacher provides guidance for the students to use their poetry readers as an independent work option. The teacher not only includes the poetry from Shared Reading but also includes other poems, songs, or chants the students are taught across the day.

First Grade

The poetry readers are introduced in Week 9; see page 206 in your teacher’s manual for more information.

In a first grade classroom, the teacher provides guidance for the students to use their poetry readers as an independent work option. Notice how this first grade teacher raised the expectations for engagement in the poetry readers from kindergarten.

Letter Identification/Letter Sounds

In a grade K classroom, the teacher provides an independent work option that engages the students in matching the upper and lower case letter with the letter located on the ABC strip. Once the letters have been identified, the student then used the differentiated set of picture cards to make the beginning sound of the picture with the appropriate letter.

High-Frequency Word Practice

Another independent work option in a kindergarten classroom provides the opportunity to practice the high-frequency words taught in the Being a Reader small-group instruction. The student is given a card with a high-frequency word and the student uses  letter cards to build the word.

This independent work option not only engages the student in applying the learning from small-group reading instruction, it also provides the much needed practice opportunity students need to acquire the high-frequency words.