Independent Reading: Perspectives and Practices of Highly Effective Teachers
Sanden, Sherry L.
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In this qualitative study, teachers' understandings, perspectives, and practices related to independent reading are examined through classroom observations, teacher and student interviews, a teacher survey, and classroom artifacts. Utilizing a theoretical framework based on the work of Ruddell and Unrau (2004), this study acknowledges the significant role teacher understandings about instruction and teacher practices during instruction play on the literacy learning process and specifically on teachers' classroom use of independent reading. The commonalities in beliefs and practices regarding independent reading of eight highly effective elementary teachers lead to better insight regarding the use of independent reading as a component of literacy instruction. Implications for practical application of these findings include structuring of independent reading events that incorporate ongoing teacher guidance, a focus on student learning, and a foundation in student needs. This increased understanding provides the impetus to follow up with investigations into the efficacy of independent reading that includes these components to positively affect students' reading achievement.