Choice in reading materials builds engagement and assists students to have a voice in what they want to learn. To ensure choice, teachers need to have a well-organised classroom library of cognitively appropriate print and digital books including many different topics, genres and text types. Book choice must be at each student’s independent reading level or easier, so students can read successfully using the strategies they have learned and don’t require teacher or parent intervention.
Ebooks can provide rich reading experiences at school and at home. Studies report that ‘reading in a digital learning environment is an incentive in younger and lower performing students and that feedback in ebooks and apps plays a powerful role for staying engaged and motivated. Digital features like animation, hotspots, and audio facilitate comprehension and aid recall of story plots and content information.’ (Kathleen Roskos & Susan B. Neuman, Best Practices in Reading, The Reading Teacher, April 2014, p. 509.)
To help students build reading fluency and encourage them to read for pleasure, ensure books are at the appropriate level to build students’ confidence and help them make progress. Access to up-to-date assessment results will help inform students’ independent reading choices – educators can recommend the right selection of books so students can read independently and successfully.
Independent and successful readers:
- Approach reading with interest
- Presume they will understand what they read
- Have a broad reading vocabulary and know the meanings of many words
- Have a range of strategies for working out the meanings of words
- Can effortlessly decode many words
- Recognise there are different text types and that they will need to draw on diverse strategies to read them
- Realise when they don’t understand an author’s message and have a range of strategies to help them understand it
- Know they will make errors, but are optimistic they will understand the text
- Have a fluent reading rate and capably use prosody (expression to aid meaning)
- Talk about texts and authors.