February 5, 2018

An Easy Way to Save Your Anchor Charts

An Easy Way to Save Your Anchor Charts - The Reading Roundup

Teachers LOVE using anchor charts! But we don't love how much wall-space they can take up in the classroom. Am I right? Read on to find a simple way to save your anchor charts in a way that students can still easily use them as a reference! Which isn't the point of anchor charts to have them accessible for students to refer to when needed?


* Post contains Amazon Affiliate links. *


What is the purpose of Anchor Charts?

Anchor Charts are a valuable visual for students to help them understand a specific skill, strategies, or other content. The most beneficial anchor charts are co-constructed by the teacher and students. When students are involved in creating the anchor charts, it helps them better understand and remember the content. Students are also more likely to refer to the co-created anchor charts due to their sense of ownership. 

Anchor charts are displayed around the classroom as a visual reminder of the content. Teachers refer to previously made anchor charts to build off of prior content as well as refresh students' memories. Students use the anchor charts as a reference as they gradually become more independent with the strategies highlighted in the chart.


Anchor Charts that Don't Take up as Much Wall-space

Teachers typically create and display anchor charts that correspond with their current units of study. But when you are doing that for several subject areas, the amount of anchor charts in a classroom can quickly add up! Ultimately, the purpose of the anchor charts is for students to refer back to them when necessary. They aren't always able to do that when teachers only display the current units of study.

One simple solution for keeping anchor charts easily accessible to students all year is to take pictures of your anchor charts. This is a huge help since pictures obviously take up a lot less space! Think about a large poster compared to a 5x7 picture. I found this 2 sided picture frame from Ikea, which has worked perfectly as a display!

An Easy Way to Save Your Anchor Charts - The Reading Roundup
Click to purchase the frame.


It was so simple to turn this 2-sided picture frame into an anchor chart display! 
  1.  Remove the paper and plastic from the inside of the frame. 
  2.  Print the anchor chart pictures and whole punch the top.
  3.  Add binder rings to attach the pictures to the frame.
EASY!!
An Easy Way to Save Your Anchor Charts - The Reading Roundup

Keeping Anchor Charts Accessible All Year

These anchor chart displays are perfect to keep at your guided reading table as a quick reference. If your students sit at tables or groups of desks for independent work, you may even want to make an anchor chart display for each group. This makes it easy for them to refer to the anchor charts independently when needed.

How do you display anchor charts in your classroom? How do you provide access to the anchor charts all year for your students? Share your tips in the comments below!


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An Easy Way to Save Your Anchor Charts - The Reading Roundup






January 29, 2018

The One Tool You Need to make Reading Response Digital

Make Reading Response Digital with Padlet - The Reading Roundup

Are you looking to go paperless with your reading response notebooks? Padlet is an AMAZING digital tool that makes it engaging for readers to respond to text. 


What is Padlet?

Padlet is an free online bulletin board that allows multiple contributors to post ideas, images, links, videos, and more. Teachers can use the website or the app for students to access the Padlet boards they have created.

Using Padlet to Annotate Text

Make Reading Response Digital with Padlet - The Reading Roundup
When setting up the padlet, teachers can create columns that correspond with text annotations. I created Padlet boards for each book club book with the following columns: questions, important details, and interesting facts. Rather than annotating text using post-it notes, students can type their responses into the shared Padlet. 

Students can also comment on the ideas posted by other students! For example - one student asked a question about an unidentified character in the book. Another student responded in the comments with new details to help figure out that character's identity.


Using Padlet to Track Characters

Make Reading Response Digital with Padlet - The Reading Roundup
When reading chapter books, students can struggle to keep track of all of the characters. I created a Padlet that had columns for each of the main characters and a column for new characters. As students found additional information about each character or met a new character, they could add it to the Padlet. It was a visual way for students to easily remember what they knew about the characters.

Additional Benefits of Using Padlet for Reading Response

  • Students can easily collaborate with other students who are reading the same book. 
  • Students can immediately see new ideas on their device as other students contribute to the board.
  • Displaying the Padlet on the Smartboard leads to more student accountability and encourages them to take the activity seriously.
  • Students can respond to other students ideas in the comments. They can also like each other's comments - which adds a whole new element of excitement for them!
  • There is an option for students to add pictures, so they can take a picture of their evidence from the text. 
  • Teachers can customize the backgrounds of the Padlet boards. This is helpful when multiple books are being discussed at once. Different backgrounds make it easier to quickly distinguish which book is being discussed.
Make Reading Response Digital with Padlet - The Reading Roundup


Setting up Padlet for Reading Response

The following video provides step-by-step instructions for setting up Padlet boards for reading response.



These are only a few ways that I've used Padlet with my students, but there are limitless options for other ways to use it. How else could you use Padlet for reading response? Are there other digital tools you use for your students to response to text? Please share your ideas in the comments below!


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Are you looking to go paperless with your reading response notebooks? Padlet is an AMAZING digital tool that makes it engaging for readers to respond to text and collaborate with others.

January 22, 2018

Reader's Theater is NOT Just for Fluency Practice

The Reading Roundup - Reader's Theater is NOT Just for Fluency Practice

Reader's Theater is an extremely effective strategy for fluency practice. It allows students to practice reading fluently in an authentic manner. But there are so many other skills you can teach using Reader's Theater! 


5 Alternative Ways to use Reader's Theater

Read to find out some ways I've used Reader's Theater with my students to work on more than just fluency practice. By focusing on these other skills, it improves the students' overall comprehension and leads to a more expressive and fluent final performance of the script!

Reader's Theater to Identify the Setting of a Story

Have your students look through the script to identify the parts of the story which refer to the setting. After reading those parts, write down the adjectives used to describe the setting and decide where the story takes place. The students can then use Google images to find photos of each setting which best match the description. These photos can be added to a green screen app or simply displayed on your Smart board as the students perform. 
The Reading Roundup - Reader's Theater is NOT Just for Fluency Practice


Reader's Theater for Vocabulary Development

Sometimes students are unfamiliar with some of the words in the Reader's Theater scripts. You can use this as an opportunity to practice using context clues to determine the meaning of those words. Not only are there words they do not know the meaning of, they may find words that are hard for them to pronounce. You may want to work with the students to find synonyms for these words but that students can accurately read.


Reader's Theater to Teach Comprehension

Reader's Theater is a great opportunity for students to practice making inferences about the characters. Many scripts offer a moral of the story. The students tend to find it easier to identify the moral of a Reader's Theater script, because they are more personally invested in the story compared to just reading a passage out of a text. 

Reader's Theater to Analyze Character Traits

We spend a majority of our work with Reader's Theater analyzing the characters. Take the time to identify the character traits and have students provide text evidence to support their inferences. Encourage students to think about how their character must be feeling in the story. I even have students draw faces in the margins based on how their character is feeling. This is a great reminder to add the appropriate expression when performing the script!

The Reading Roundup - Reader's Theater is NOT Just for Fluency Practice

Reader's Theater for Writing Practice

There are many opportunities to use Reader's Theater for writing practice. Allow students to rewrite some of their lines or change the ending. In fact, you may even want to have your students write an entire script themselves! 


What are some other ways you've used Reader's Theater with your students? Please share them in the comments below!


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The Reading Roundup - Reader's Theater is NOT Just for Fluency Practice

January 15, 2018

Successful Tips for Using the Beanie Baby Decoding Strategies

The Reading Roundup - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies Tips

The Beanie Baby Reading Strategies have made a tremendous impact on my students' ability to successfully decode unknown words independently. If you didn't see Part 1 of my post in which I introduce the strategies, check it out here.


Since I have found these strategies to be highly effective with my students, I want to share my tips with you to hopefully help your students find the same success!


The Reading Roundup - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies Posters
The Reading Roundup - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies Tips

Steps for Introducing the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies
With all of the strategies, I use the following steps to introduce and practice the strategy.
1.     Model the strategy on a shared book or in the guided reading book for your lesson.
2.     Display the corresponding poster to use as a reference. (See picture above)
3.     Practice the strategy together.
4.     Encourage students to try it on their own while they read the guided reading book.
5.     Place the Beanie Babies on the guided reading table as the students read independently as a reminder of the strategies. (See picture above)
6.     Prompt students when they get stuck on a word to practice identifying which strategy they think would help. Support students as they attempt to use the strategy. Make sure they physically grab the Beanie Baby that they want to try using because it helps them take ownership of the strategy.
7.     After the students have finished reading the book, highlight the students who used the decoding strategies. Explain to the group how the student used the strategy to successfully decode the unknown word. Eventually through enough modeling, the students will be able to explain it themselves. I also like to hand students the Beanie Babies that represent the strategies they used. It is a tactile reminder of the strategies, but it also acts as a reward for students as they get excited to hold the Beanie Babies.


The Reading Roundup - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies Tips

Other Helpful Tips for Implementation
  • I sent out emails to my parents asking if they had any of the Beanie Babies at home. Luckily, I was able to get all of them that way! You may also want to check out Amazon, Ebay, or thrift stores to find yours. Having the actual Beanie Babies is a key factor to their effectiveness.
  • The key is having a tool for the students to physically manipulate when they are stuck on a word. Even if you can't find the actual Beanie Babies, I strongly recommend having something to represent each strategy. (Another option are the strategy sticks as show above).This adds a hands on approach that helps students take more ownership of the strategy, thus enabling them to independently implement the strategy. 
  • Once I've began introducing the strategies, I begin each guided reading lesson with a quick review. I ask the students to tell me what they are going to do if they get stuck on a word. They must tell me the strategy and not just the name of the Beanie Baby. Once they've identified a strategy, I toss them the corresponding Beanie Baby. This simple warm up activity gets them excited to read and helps build their confidence that they will be able to figure out any unknown words they encounter.
  • It is important to constantly have students verbalize the strategies to youThey must tell you the decoding strategy and NOT just the name of the Beanie Baby. For example - they should say "I can stretch out the word" and not "Stretchy Snake." When they get stuck on a word, ask them to explain what they can try. If a student has successfully implemented the strategies to decode an unknown word, ask him/her to explain what they did. By having them orally explain the strategy to you, they begin to internalize it more. 
  • The Beanie Babies are just a scaffold. Once my students can verbally explain to me the strategies and independently implement them, I no longer use the actual Beanie Babies. The posters remain up all year for students to refer to, but as a result of our extensive work practicing the strategies at the beginning of the year they rarely need to refer to the posters. 


Make sure you check out Part 1 of this post to get a more in depth introduction to all of the Beanie Baby Decoding Strategies! Click here to read Part 1!


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The Reading Roundup - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies Tips

The Secret to Teaching Students How to Decode

The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret Title
If I had to name the one teaching strategy that has been the most effective in helping my students with decoding, it would be the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies! Hands down - without question! Because of these strategies, my students are able to verbally explain what to do when they're stuck on a word and independently make attempts at decoding unknown words.

Maybe you're already familiar with the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. But hopefully by my sharing what has worked for me, you'll find some new ideas to try in your guided reading lessons.

The Beanie Baby Reading Strategies for Decoding

Before I tell you how I use the Beanie Baby decoding strategies, let me first introduce you to our friends! 

Here's a snapshot of our 9 Beanie Baby Decoding Strategies:
The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies


Introducing the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies to Students

I introduce one strategy at a time to provide students with ample opportunities to practice and remember the strategy. With Kindergarten and 1st grade, I typically introduce one strategy a week. This depends on their ability to start implementing the strategy independently. A strategy such as Eagle Eye, typically does not require as much practice. With 2nd graders, I'm able to introduce a couple strategies a week as it is just a review for them.


he Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Eagle Eye
I always introduce Eagle Eye first. I explain to the students that he helps us by looking at the picture. We can use the clues in the picture to figure out the unknown word. He is the easiest one to start with since students naturally tend to look at the picture first anyway. 


he Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Lips the Fish
Lips the Fish is the second strategy I introduce as it is also relatively easy for students to begin implementing. Lips the Fish gets his lips ready for the first sound of the word. We practice by covering up the endings of words to use the inital sounds to figure out what the word might be. I also refer back to Eagle Eye if they aren't able to decode the word with just the initial sound. This keeps the previously taught strategy fresh in their mind, but also shows them how the strategies can work together to help us.


The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Stretchy Snake
Stretchy Snake is one of their favorite strategies! He stretches out the word and helps them sound it out. We practice by stretching out the snake Beanie Baby as we sound out CVC words. I also provide each student with a slinky to practice sounding out the word. Adding this hands on element helps the students internalize the strategy. It is important to remind the students that they must put the sounds together after stretching it out to determine the word (Say C-A-T: cat).


The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Meaning Bird
I always teach Meaning Bird next. In the past, I found that some students would overly depend on Stretchy Snake. They would sound out words but when they put the sounds together it did not make sense. As a result, I created Meaning Bird who reminds us to think about what word would make sense. 


The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Chunky Monkey
Chunky Monkey is another student favorite! She helps looks for known "chunks" in the words. This can be smaller words within larger words (an is in can), blends/digraphs (sh is at the end of fish), or endings (-s, -ing, -ed). The students will quickly notice that these chunks don't always help them decode the unknown word. (Example: They may notice so and me in some but that does not help them read the word). These words are a great opportunity to teach students how the strategies can work together as well as remind them to think about what word would make sense. (The book There's an Ant in Anthony is a great tool to help with this skill). affiliate link


The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Skippy the FrogThe Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Tryin' Lion
I typically teach Skippy the Frog and Tryin' Lion together. Skippy the Frog skips an unknown word, while Tryin' Lion encourages students to reread and try a word that makes sense and looks right. I tell students that these are buddies that like to work together. We talk about how we can't skip a word forever because then our story will not make sense. They must go back to reread and try a word that would make sense.


The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Flippy the Dolphin
Flippy the Dolphin is the last Beanie Baby I introduce as it requires students to have a knowledge of short and long vowel sounds. Flippy the Dolphin flips the vowel sound. If the word is "pot" we would sound it out with the short vowel sound p-o-t and the long vowel sound p-o-t-e. Then we talk about which word would make sense in the sentence. When we flip the vowel sound, we literally flip the dolphin Beanie Baby as the hands on approach makes it more concrete to the students.


The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies - Helpful Kangaroo
The final Beanie Baby Strategy is Helpful Kangaroo, which teaches students to ask for help. I honestly never introduce this strategy to my students because I want them to independently implement the other strategies and not rely on me to help them with the word.

The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies Bulletin Board

As I introduce the strategies, I display the posters for students to refer to during guided reading.
The Reading Roundup - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies Posters

Want to know more tips and tricks to successfully use the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies to teach your students how to independently decode unknown words? Check out Part 2 of my Post!


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The Reading Roundup - Decoding Secret - Beanie Baby Reading Strategies


January 6, 2018

The Ultimate Tool for Organizing your Classroom Library

Classroom Booksource - The Ultimate Tool for Organizing Your Classroom Library - The Reading Roundup

Classroom Booksource is a game changer for your classroom library organization! 


Do your students or colleagues borrow books from you but the books never seem to make it back? Do you buy duplicates of books because you don't remember what you already have or can't find books when you need them? I definitely struggled with these frustrations in the past, but Classroom Booksource has been extremely beneficial in helping me to organize my classroom library!


I want to show you some of the valuable features of Classroom Booksource to help you with your classroom library organization!


Teacher Tools on Classroom Booksource

Classroom Booksource login for classroom library organization by The Reading Roundup
When you login to Classroom Booksource, you have the option to view it as a teacher or a student. I'll first show you the features for teachers.


Classroom Booksource dashboard for classroom library organization by The Reading Roundup
When teachers login, they will see this screen. I love that it allows me to quickly see how many books are checked out! If I click on the information, it will provide more details such as who has books checked out and which books they have.

Classroom Booksource reports for classroom library organization by The Reading Roundup
Classroom Booksource provides reports that allow you to see things such as the book distribution by reading level or the percentage of nonfiction versus fiction books in your library. This feature has been very beneficial in helping me identify the types of books I already have plenty of in my classroom library and which types I'm currently lacking.


Adding Books to your Classroom Library

Classroom Booksource book list for classroom library organization by The Reading Roundup
You can add books to your classroom library two ways: scanning the barcodes using the app or using the ISBN number. Most books will auto-populate with the cover image, title, author, and reading level. This is a HUGE time saver and extremely helpful with organization. There is an edit button and option to add a cover image if that information does not auto-populate. 

When finding a reading level, I love using Scholastic Book Wizard. You just type in the book you're looking for and one of the options it shows will be the guided reading level. There are some books that do not have it listed, but I've been able to find the reading level for 95% of my books so far.


Classroom Booksource book locations for classroom library organization by The Reading Roundup
Once you've added your books, you can further organize them under the tab titled: Book Quantities, Locations, and Conditions. This allows you to indicate the number of quantities of each book and the location. The quantity will automatically update if you scan each book separately or you can just select the option to add a book. It will assign a COPY ID of each individual copy, but I personally don't need to be that specific about labeling my books. Another option I haven't used is the ability to identify the condition of the book. These are both useful options to have, but just not necessary for me. 

You can also select where each book is located by setting up library locations. You can choose whatever locations work for your library. You can organize it by genre, topics, author, or however else you have your classroom library organized. Since I work with students in multiple grade levels, I simply organized mine by location on my bookshelf (shelf, bin). 
The Reading Roundup - Classroom library


Student Tools on Classroom Booksource

Classroom Booksource login for classroom library organization by The Reading Roundup
Classroom Booksource makes it so easy for students to browse, loan, and return books! When students log in, they are first shown a screen to select their name. 


Classroom Booksource student login for classroom library organization by The Reading Roundup
They are then given an option to checkout or return books. When they choose to checkout books, they can easily browse or search through the books in your classroom library. If they click on the book,they can see additional information including the location. This makes it easier to find the actual book in your library. To check out the book, all they have to do is select the green Check Out Book box. 


When students return the book, they have the option to write a review and provide a rating. This is a great way for me to get a better idea of the types of books students are interested in so that I can recommend similar titles. 


Using the Classroom Booksource App

The Classroom Booksource APP has made it SUPER EASY to organize my classroom library. To add the books, you just simply scan the barcode and select add to library. That's it!

It is just as easy to check out books to students. You select their name, scan the book's barcode, and select checkout. Students can return the books to you just by scanning the barcode as well!


See Classroom Booksource in Action

I created a video that shows all of these features in action. Check it out below! 

What tools or strategies have you found beneficial in organizing your classroom library? Share them in the comments below!


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Classroom Booksource - The Ultimate Tool for Organizing Your Classroom Library Pin - The Reading Roundup

September 5, 2017

Flexible Seating in a Reading Resource Room

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

When you are reading at home for fun, how do you sit? Are you sitting formally on a chair at your kitchen table or are you relaxing with your feet up on the couch? Most likely, you prefer to be comfortable when you're reading! The same holds true for our students, so why do we expect them to sit formally at their desks during independent reading? 

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.


**This post contains affiliate links.**

My First Step in Flexible Seating


I begin each of my remediation groups by providing students with an opportunity to read independently for fun. Students who receive additional reading support tend to get a lot of reading instruction but not as much time to actually practice reading as their on grade level peers. Since most classroom teachers send their students to my room, it allows us to gradually start as we wait for everyone to arrive. It also gives me a chance to confer with students. 

I noticed that students were not entirely engaged during this independent reading time. The first minor change I made was allowing my students to sit under tables, on my rolling teacher chairs, or put their feet ON my reading table as they read (*gasp!*). It wasn't uncommon for a teacher to come in my room and be in disbelief that I was letting my students put their feet on my table. But guess what? The students didn't even notice the teacher in the room because they were too busy reading! 


Providing More Options to Students


Since students responded so well to this minor change, I wanted to provide them with more options during independent reading. I purchased a couple bean bags, saucer chairs, and boyfriend pillows. I created a cozy reading nook in my classroom to make it inviting for students. And it worked! 

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.


As a result of the new reading nook, my students were so excited to read! I found the flexible seating options really helped the students to be more engaged during independent reading. In fact, on a daily basis other students stop by and tell me that they wish they could come read in my room!


Bringing Flexible Seating to Guided Reading


There was a disconnect between my cozy reading nook for independent reading and the formal setting of my guided reading table with traditional chairs. I found that students weren't always as engaged during small group instruction. The students in my group tend to struggle with attention issues so they had difficulty sitting still in my group. As a result I decided to purchase wobble stools! 


In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

Kore Wobble Chair


Students were provided the option to choose a wobble stool or a regular chair during our small group reading. Of course, this took some training to teach students the proper way to sit on the stools so they did not become a distraction. But the students quickly learned to make the right choice for the seating that worked best for them and most helped them to be engaged in our small group instruction. 

Students are only required to sit at the guided reading table when I'm giving explicit instruction. Typically this is just when I'm providing phonics practice or guided reading instruction in the primary grades. The older students have the option of sitting anywhere in my room during our instruction since we're typically focusing on comprehension which is a more collaborative approach instead of being as teacher-centered.


Flexible Seating Management


Luckily, since I have small groups I did not have to implement any formal management system of the flexible seating options. Students were allowed to select where they wanted to sit each day as they arrived. They did not need to move a clip to indicate their choice, instead they simply picked a book, chose their seat, and began to read. It naturally worked out and students did not fight over seats. Some groups of students found seats that they all naturally gravitated toward and they sat in the same spots each day. Other groups preferred to change things up, so they automatically took turns without me needing to keep track of spots.

Flexible Seating Success!


I noticed a tremendous difference in my students as a result of the flexible seating options. They were actually excited to read independently! Not only that, they were engaged in reading the entire time rather than pretending to read or wasting time finding a book to read. 

The data also indicated a positive impact!

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

We had more students pass the state standardized test at the end of the year than we did the previous year. Is this entirely due to flexible seating? No, of course not. But I do think the fact that students were more engaged during independent reading played a huge part in the improvement last year.

Next Steps


Obviously, I plan on continuing to use flexible seating in my resource room. I'm hoping to add more options such as crate seats. We already have one school reading nook (pictured below) but I'd like to utilize other unused spaces in the building to make additional reading nooks for students. 


In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.

In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.
See the students reading with their feet up?!


Have you used flexible seating in your classroom? Did you find it beneficial or challenging to implement? Share your experiences with it in the comments below.


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In an effort to motivate my students to be more engaged during independent reading I began offering flexible seating options. Continue reading to find out how I implemented flexible seating in my reading resource room and the impact it had on student engagement during independent reading.