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When I first started teaching, I knew that independent reading was important. I knew I wanted to give my students the opportunity to read something on their own that they loved, but I didn’t realize the need to be specific and intentional in this practice. Because of this, I would provide time for “free reading” or “DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Time” on a regular basis. However, it didn’t always go as planned. From time to time, I would have students flipping through pages of the book (not reading). Some students played in their desks during this time. I even had a student or two fall asleep. As a new teacher, I knew I needed to provide opportunity for more focused reading, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. I was frustrated with myself and my students.

We have just about made it through the first semester of the school year, and we want to make certain that we are teaching our students vocabulary skills to the highest level possible. Among the very common questions we contemplate throughout the school year, there are always those questions of how we can reach our students and increase their level of mastery. How can we have our students dig deeper and increase their level of mastery?

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Read Naturally Star of the Month​Share your student’s success story—nominate him or her for our Star of the Month award. Win a Barnes & Noble gift card for the student and a Read Naturally gift certificate for your class!

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