How to encourage independent reading

What can a student do in just 15 minutes a day that could create a huge impact on their performance and future? Read!

Surprised? Independent reading is a simple action that can make a great difference for students – but what can we do to encourage this habit in students?

First things first – what is independent reading? Independent reading is when students choose what they want to read on their own, with minimal to no assistance from teachers or parents. Sometimes independent reading occurs during school, or after school, or it may be completely voluntary.

Reading unlocks other forms of learning, which is why it’s no surprise that just 15 minutes of reading per day improves students’ chances of graduating high school, and enrolling in college. We know that there is a strong connection between independent reading and achievement, and many researchers believe that independent reading plays a key role in the development of reading fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and background knowledge. In fact, reading engagement is more highly correlated with achievement than socioeconomic status, gender, family structure, and even time spent on homework!

But traditional independent reading (we’re talking about assigning students specific pages to read from the “classics”, or giving book reports as homework) can leave some students unengaged. 

That’s where we come in. Here’s why teachers use Read to Lead for independent reading. 

Flexible and Easy Implementation 

Since Read to Lead is a no-prep tool for teachers, you can easily weave independent reading time into your school day. Wondering what activities will keep your kiddos occupied as you set up your lesson? Or maybe you’re looking for a productive activity during homeroom or as a filler activity for students to work on when they finish an assignment early? Read to Lead to the rescue!

For a more robust implementation, many educators use Read to Lead during station learning and also use the platform’s wrap-around curriculum like debate questions, enrichment projects, and discussion questions to spark deeper comprehension. 

Read to Lead’s immersive learning games range from 15 to 30 minutes each – just enough time for students to reap the benefits of a daily reading patience, but also fits nicely within a dynamic classroom setting! No matter whether your classes are in-person, remote, or a hybrid, Read to Lead will keep your students engaged, whenever you need.

Games are Standards-Aligned

Student engagement and standards-based instruction don’t have to be at odds. 

Read to Lead’s learning games are aligned to English Language Art standards, and are available in a wide Lexile range for each grade (5-9). This means that even as your students cultivate their literacy skills and discover their love for reading, they’re being empowered to become better readers and leaders. Win, and win!

Rooted in SEL and Whole-Child Development 

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” ― Aristotle. 

At Read to Lead, we know that life isn’t just about getting good grades. That’s why we’ve designed learning games with a focus on SEL and whole-child development. Students get to “be the boss” in a variety of virtual workplaces, giving them a level of agency they don’t normally have, even as they form connections between their current selves and their potential to be a change agent in their future workplaces.

As students read independently on the platform to problem-solve in real-life scenarios, they also nurture their inner leaders and grow as well-rounded individuals. It’s not just for fun that’s why we’re called Read to Lead!

Track Students’ Progress Easily

How tough is it to figure out if a kid actually read a book to do their book report, or if they copied it off SparkNotes? Tracking student’s progress in independent reading can be a challenge, but with Read to Lead, you’ll never have to worry about that again!

Gain a bird’s eye view of students’ progress and keep track of their achievements on the game-based learning platform with detailed Performance Reports. Celebrate students’ wins as they hit reading milestones along the way, and sign up for the Million Words Read challenge to keep students motivated to read independently – even as you keep your finger on the pulse of students’ achievements. With so many pros and no cons when it comes to engaging students in independent reading (except students wanting to play

Read to Lead games all the time – we’ve had several teachers tell us that!), there’s really no reason to delay signing up for your free account. It’s easy, and free for educators! Click here to sign up for a free account.

About Read to Lead

Read to Lead, created by the nonprofit organization, Classroom Inc., uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!