Independent Reading Routines: The Reading Spot

I'm struggling to stay above water at my new school and in my new grade level (YES! Many changes around here, but we'll have to save that story for another day!), but I just HAD to put my school work on hold for a few minutes to share this nugget of AWESOMENESS with you!

My new school is a Teacher's College Reading and Writing Workshop lab school. I am amazed by the amount of trainings and resources we have at our fingertips, and I am beyond excited to jump into the deep end of that pool! But coming from a Daily 5 mindset, there are a few new routines I need to wrap my head around.

I've been meeting with my instructional coach, and we've been discussing establishing routines for independent reading time. Yesterday she suggested that my students choose a "reading spot" and sit that spot for the whole month.

My first thought was, WHAT?! When I did Daily 5, my students chose a new spot for Read to Self every day. Wouldn't I be taking away student choice and ownership?? Besides, everyone needs a change of scenery every now and then. What if they didn't want to sit in that spot the next day? Also I don't have enough reading pillows and carpet squares for everyone to have one. So how will I make the use of those fun reading materials fair?

But, I went along with her suggestion despite my reservations. She's an expert after all, right?

Well, it didn't take me more that 3 minutes of my instructional coach teaching my mini lesson to realize that this idea is GENIUS!
Think about where you read/work at home. I'm usually parked in the same spot on the couch in my living room when I'm reading. Do I find a new spot every time I sit down to read? Usually not... unless one of my kids is being distracting!

We picked students' names at random, they grabbed a reading pillow or carpet square if desired and available, and then chose their spots. I wrote down everyone's spot, even down to what color pillow they will be using. This will be especially helpful if there is a sub in my room and someone tries to pull a fast one :) We practiced several times setting up and cleaning up. My students were able to get ready for reading and clean up in less than 45 seconds for each transition!
There was no arguing over the pillows. There was no racing to sit by certain people. There wasn't any wandering around the room, wondering where to sit. No more wasting time "getting started right away."

They got their book boxes and pillow/carpet square, went to their spots, and got down to business.

In less than 45 seconds.


We were focused on reading during independent reading time. Not trying to hide behind a bookshelf for the 37th time and then me having to talk to the student like it's the first time I've had to tell them that.
I did tell my students that if there was a day that they wanted to sit in their desks instead of their spots, that's fine. So their options are their reading spot or their desks. That's it.

I wrote down the names of the last three students that chose spots. They will go first next month. Each month we will choose a new reading spot.

Semi-permanent reading spots are here to STAY in my classroom! What do you think? Will you give it a try?

For more Reader's Workshop ideas, check out my Pinterest board!


  1. You are seriously rocking my world right now, Angela! I'm having identity issues with my reading instructional time right now, but I am totally inspired to make sure I allow time for independent reading! My seconds NEED to build their stamina! You'll do great at your new school and grade level. The best teachers are the ones who want to learn. <3! <3!

  2. Love this idea! Going to try it when I get back to school on Tuesday! Thank you, thank you!!!!

  3. WOW! Genius idea. I am totally doing that on Tuesday! Because they do spend a lot of time choosing. Great description. Cannot wait for your next tip!

  4. Fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love the idea and will be doing it Tuesday! They spend soooo much time in the looking for a spot it drives me nuts!

  6. What a fabulous idea!! I really think this would help my students too. I have a couch in my fourth grade classroom and my helpers of the day (1 boy and 1 girl) get to sit on the couch to read. So I guess for that day they can read at their spot or read on the couch. Their choice. I will need to get a few more pillows for this too. :)
    Mrs. Flickinger's Butterfly Oasis

  7. A Big time YES!!! It makes sense and I am going to try it Tuesday. It's my 1st year teaching Daily 5 and we are up to 12 minutes! Looking forward to more ideas! Thank you!

  8. A Big time YES!!! It makes sense and I am going to try it Tuesday. It's my 1st year teaching Daily 5 and we are up to 12 minutes! Looking forward to more ideas! Thank you!

  9. Definitely going to try this! Thanks

  10. Wow! This is really intriguing to me. When I first started reading the post I had the same thoughts as you and thought.....never. However, after reading it all the way through it does sound like a great idea. Your comparison of reading on the couch hit home. I'm going to try this too! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I've always let them choose too. But just like you said, they take forever to find that spot and they want to make are they sit by a certain someone etc. I'm definitely trying this!!!

  12. I love this idea. I will definitely have to try this.
    May your challenges make you a better teacher and I hope that things get less crazy for you. Thanks so much for sharing :)
    @ Wiley Teaching


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