Free Range Readers

Nurturing Self Reliant Readers and Writers in K-6 classrooms

New Position Statement from IRA


While I am basically happy with the IRA’s newest Position Statement on Leisure Reading, I have to question the thinking behind calling independent reading “Leisure Reading.” I get what they are saying, and am in agreement with their arguments in favor of children having more time to read books that they choose to read widely and deeply, but I am concerned about calling independent reading “Leisure Reading.”

I teach in a high poverty community with many (most) children coming from homes where they speak a language other than English. My school supports a Reading Workshop framework for teaching reading, and teachers have large blocks of time devoted to independent reading with conferring. We also have classroom libraries and a fully supported summer reading program. We believe that children need lots of time to read books that they choose to read.

In my mind (and experience) the word “leisure” connotes privilege. I am worried about how to best present this position statement to parents in my school community. The content of the statement is solid, but I kind of wish they had called this something else ….. like “independent reading.” Is anyone else thinking about the class issues associated with “Leisure Reading?” Maybe I am over-thinking it. At any rate, I am very happy about the position IRA is taking regarding this type of reading!

Author: mnosal

I have been in education for all of my life, in one way or another. After teaching 5th grade at an urban public charter school, I have decided to return to the public schools and to literacy coaching K-5. I also teach and mentor preservice teachers.


  1. How about self-selected reading?

  2. Yes, that makes sense. Independent reading in and out of school often becomes too hard to defend, and it is so important and worth fighting for. I am going to continue to mull this over. Thanks for responding.

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