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5 Ways to Quickly Get Kindergarteners Reading Independently

When I moved down to kindergarten, I knew I would have to get creative in order to run my normal reading workshop. I am a firm believer that little kids can do big things! I wanted them to read independently and in partners for a minimum of thirty minutes.

They can do it. We do it every day. 
I wanted to share five ideas that have been helpful to me in getting nonconventional readers reading! 
We want our students to know that our reading time is predictable. They won’t be using any brain power trying to figure out what you are going to ask them to do today- so they can comfortably settle in and get busy reading. You can do this in many way- but my favorite thing to do it to teach through song! You can check out my class singing our workshop structure here: 

What problems can you get ahead of? In my room, the number one thing that causes a disruption during reading time is torn books. We all know about the book hospital but I found myself frustrated with that because it would take forever to locate the ripped page and mend it (especially because I struggled to fix the books quickly- so they piled up.) Now, I teach my students to fill out a “book patient prescription” form and stick in the page that needs to be fixed like a bookmark. It cuts my book-mending time in half! 
We use a rubric that shows what our bodies, brains, and books should be doing. This allows students to see the progression for what they might be doing during reading workshop. Here is an example of mine: 
Displayed for the whole class to see…
But also on the back of each student’s reading mat. More on reading mats below! 
We use reading mats. They are taught to stack their books on the green side and then move them over to the red side when they are finished. When the books are on the red side, they have a menu at the bottom that asks them to select a purpose for rereading. This menu strip is not laminated because it changes as the units change. You can see examples below! 
The strips are switched out to fit the current unit of study that we are in. 
In the lower grades, they may not be reading conventionally, but they are still making meaning! I teach my students to make their books come alive by providing them with some tools that can help! I give them a television and they can hold it over their books. As they do this, they are making the page sound like a television show. This helps me teach them that the characters say things and have thoughts. 
I also give them think and talk bubble sticks. This lesson is great because it teaches the readers that while the characters might be saying one thing, they can be thinking something entirely different. 
If you’d like these resources and MORE, check out this Reading Workshop Engagement Pack! It includes all of the ideas listed and WAY more. Click the photo below. 
Here’s to little kids doing big things! 


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