Goals/Benefits Time/Structure Sample Lessons Routines Texts Assessment

Facilitator Notes

The Goals/Benefits Section is divided into parts, with one or more questions under each part and videotaped responses from teacher educators, teachers, and/or students to each question.  Occasionally, responses are repeated in the Sample Lesson teacher commentary.  When clips of classroom practice are included, they are labeled “Classroom in Action”.  The transcript of each clip may also facilitate discussion.

We suggest viewing all the clips under one question, having teachers take notes while they view, and then discussing the clips (with partners, small or large groups) before moving to the next question.

See also Suggested Reading for information you may want to provide for discussion during the Session, or as follow-up after.





Why is Independent Reading important in primary classrooms?

This part of the Section provides an introductory overview of the importance of IR.



  • You may want teachers to discuss with partners or small groups their current Independent Reading (IR) practices, or, if they are not currently doing IR, their views about it. Ask them to discuss:
    • What are the benefits of IR in primary classrooms?
    • What questions or concerns do you have about IR?
  • After teachers discuss among themselves, share and chart some of their responses. All their questions will not be addressed in the current Section, but this chart could be retained for future sessions.  Resources to support students with special needs during IR can be found in the Suggested Readings.



  • Teachers should take notes while viewing each commentator’s response to the question. You might want to use the following chart as a note-taking guide:


Commentator Benefits of IR My Questions, Insights



  • Chart the benefits of IR that teachers noted while viewing the clips.
  • Discuss questions, insights, and additions from teachers’ own experiences.
  • You may want to include the following question:
    • What common themes emerge from the various commentators?




What are the most important ingredients to make Independent Reading time effective?

The presentations in this part of the Section provide a frame of reference for the upcoming Sections, which explore each of the criteria listed in Dr. Gambrell’s commentary in further detail: Access and Choice in TEXTS; Collaboration in TIME/STRUCTURE (Sharing); and Challenge in TIME/STRUCTURE (Conferring).  All criteria are also illustrated in the SAMPLE LESSONS.



  • You might want to use the following chart for teacher note taking.
Criteria Questions Applications
How is my classroom set up to support this criterion? What might I need to do next?
Listed by Dr. Gambrell:
Challenge (Conferring)
Other (from teacher clips and/ or own experiences):


  • Some criteria you may want to add or discuss:
    • Time (Time/Structure)
    • Regular Procedures (Routines)
    • Student Accountability (Assessment)
    • Explicit Instruction (Time/Structure: Mini-Lesson)



  • Discuss the teachers’ notes.





How can we encourage independent reading at home?

How can we encourage independent reading over the summer?

Does Independent Reading in class help increase home and summer reading?

You might also want to reference Dr. Gambrell’s commentary in the ASSESSMENT SECTION,  Accountability, “What is the appropriate use of rewards for Independent Reading?” while discussing this Section.



Teachers might take notes in a 3-column chart:

  • Ideas (raised in the clips)
  • Questions
  • Applications (how the idea might be applied/adjusted to teachers’ own situations)



Discuss teachers’ notes and initiate any additional plans for home or summer reading.