Independent Work Time

Independent Work Time has an important place in a balanced literacy block.

It is the time when children have the opportunity to independently practice reading and writing skills and strategies by doing tasks that are designed to meet their specific needs. Independent Work Time may look different in different classrooms but the literacy activities children engage in should help them on their path to becoming readers and writers who are engaged cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally.

While you can and should use this time to instruct small groups, a well-planned and thoughtful Independent Work Time does much more than just keep children “busy”. Children can, and should be, engaged in meaningful and purposeful work. Through explicit modeling and the teaching of procedures, you can ensure that children know what to do.

Through differentiation in activities, you can ensure that children find tasks that meet their needs. With the creation of a supportive physical environment – the spaces, materials and print in your room – you can promote responsibility and positive collaborations.

Coming February, 2017

We will detail how Independent Work Time fits in to a balanced literacy block and the elements that give it impact. This includes options for literacy activities, how to differentiate and hold students accountable for the work they do independently, and suggestions for establishing routines. We will provide many resources for planning, and recommendations for creating a thriving culture and environment with the steps to get you started!

Comments (2)

  1. caryn henning
    caryn henning

    Good afternoon Gamal. Thank you for the question. As we prepare to add much more content to this page it is helpful to know what information people might be looking for. Learning plans begin with knowing our students. While assessments provide us with some information, we also encourage teachers to use conferencing during Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop and Guided Reading to gather additional information about the skills and strategies that children are using with confidence and success as well as the skills and strategies they could benefit from additional support and practice. During those conferencing opportunities we recommend talking with children about their strengths and areas of growth and work together to plan their independent work.

  2. Gamal Sherif
    Gamal Sherif

    I noticed this statement: "Through differentiation in activities, you can ensure that children find tasks that meet their needs." I wonder how does CLI recommends that teachers develop students' learning plans. And to what extent can students be involved in developing their own processes and goals?