Jasper Roberts - Blog

Independent Reading in a Remote Classroom

So the countdown is on, right?

Here we have SIX weeks left of school, and of course we have state testing sprinkled in there with a topping of iReady, so probably more like five. 

In my remote classroom, we just finished up a BEAST of a literary analysis essay. Let me tell you, teaching how to write an essay in a remote classroom was no joke. I'll probably write a post about it once I've recovered and finished grading everything. I will let you know I used the Guided Draft feature in No Red Ink and it was a life saver, but that's a story for another day. 

So for this last six weeks of school, we're going to coast. And by coast I don't mean just give up, I mean coast like we're on the most enjoyable of Sunday drives. We're doing independent reading, and I've come up with some fun activities to help us make the most of these last six weeks and hopefully keep them engaged!

First up, I created a giant google slideshow to help us navigate this unit!


Set Up

What did I want them to come away with? Here are my goals for them:

-A giant TBR list that they've compiled based on what their peers are reading
-The ability to talk and share about a book and comprehend it
-Reading about reading
-The pure enjoyment of reading!

Unit Introduction

I started today by walking students through the unit, and sharing about great books. We did a Nearpod lesson where they shared books they love on stickies, and then I took a screenshot and shared it to their google classroom stream so they could refer back to it!

We also spent a long time talking about diversifying their reading and leading them to some great books that are more diverse!

They're homework today was to figure out which book they want to read and answer the question in Google Classroom and tell me the Title/Author/Genre (TAG)


EdPuzzle on Book Genres

This was a refresher assignment that I gave asynchronously. Students were just asked to identify different book genres. This was a recap from beginning of the year work, which is why I assigned it for independent work. 

NewsELA Articles

Once students have chosen their book, I ask them to read two articles on NewsELA that have something to do with their book. For example, if their book is about WWII, they could look that up. If they chose a Fantasy book they could look up Fantasy in NewsELA and read any article about Fantasy books!

In the assignment, I ask them to link the article, give a one sentence summary, and some commentary on what they learned and how it connects to their book. 

BookRiot / Epic Reads

I also asked students to read one article from BookRiot or Epic Reads.

Then I had them complete on assignment on Google Classroom when finished, which asked them to write a one-sentence summary of the article and give some commentary such as What do you learn? What was interesting or surprising?

TwoPage Spread

When we did our whole class novel study/read aloud on Long Way Down I had students create a 2 page spread for each floor (chapter). For this unit, I'm asking them to create a 2 page spread on the entire book.

For the Two Page Spread they can use pictures, quotes, symbols, and I encourage them to look for signposts in their reading as well!

Here are some of our examples from Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


Students will complete two assessments once they finish their book. 

First is a Text Reaction, which I got from my TpT friend the amazing Kasey Kiehl! You can check it out here! I had the pleasure of meeting her at a TpT conference and she is an amazing resource!

Book Talk

Students will finish this unit by creating a book talk. I was totally inspired by falling down a BookTok rabbit hole on TikTok. Students will create a 60-90 second book talk on FlipGrid and share about the book using the SWBS method, and give a rating out of 5 stars. 

I'm letting them do it in a variety of ways, they can do a standard book review or they can show the book by it's aesthetic with pictures and images and use text overlay and a voice over! 

Students will then need to comment on their peers book talks to make it collaborative. 

Class Time

During class time, we follow this format

Quick Write for 10 minutes
RADaR (Thanks, Kelly Gallagher!) for 2 minutes
Talk about it (3-5 minutes?)
Students in collaborative breakout rooms to talk about their books (I'm grouping kids by the genre they chose)
Silent Reading Time

Since our classes are on an A/B schedule I reserve Fridays for Work Days and Reading Conferences where I can meet with students to talk to them about what they're reading!

What are you doing for independent reading in your remote classrooms? Let me know, I'd love to hear!



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