The classroom is mostly quiet as the majority of my students settle in with their independent reading books.  I keep my eye on the usual suspects, who like to keep going back to get a different book or stare out the window or bug their neighbors.  The rest of my kiddos seem like they’re reading.  But really, how do I know?  And how can I hold ALL of my students responsible for what they do during this time?  I needed a better way to have accountability for my students during independent reading time.

This is a question that many teachers struggle with:

How do I know my kids are actually reading during independent reading time?

It can be difficult to know the answer to that question.  So, if you are looking for better ways to build independent reading accountability for your students, take a look at these options!

Activities for Accountability During Independent Reading

As I’m sure you know, independent reading time is an important part of a successful reading program.  However, time in the classroom is valuable.  If we’re spending time on independent reading, we want our kids to use that time well.  The following activities can keep your kids accountable for the reading they do during independent reading (or DEAR or SSR or whatever else you call the time when your kids are quietly reading on their own).  I have tried to find options that leave room for individual choice and preferences, but also hold kids responsible for getting some reading done.  I hope this list helps make independent reading time more productive and enjoyable for your class!

1. Genre Jigsaw Puzzle for Independent Reading

Do you want to give your kids a reading goal and help them read from a variety of genres?  If so, this genre jigsaw puzzle is perfect!  Each time a student completes a book, he or she cuts out the puzzle piece with the book’s genre and glues it onto his or her sheet.  When kids complete a puzzle, you can offer some sort of reward or prize. (This activity and the next one are also great summer reading activities!)

Genre Jigsaw Puzzle for independent reading accountability

Get the FREE genre puzzle here!

2. Skills-Based Graphic Organizers

Skills-based graphic organizer exampleIf you want your students to practice the skills they are learning during your reading instruction, skills-based graphic organizers are a great option.  Find or create a graphic organizer that can be used with any book and that covers your desired skill (check out my TpT store for graphic organizers that cover all the reading standards for each grade level!).  Then, students complete the graphic organizer using whatever book they are reading.  Not only does this give students extra skills practice, but it also ensures that they are thinking about the books they are reading independently.

3. Daily Exit Slip for Independent Reading Time

If you want to have a daily check-in with your kids and have them reflect a bit after each reading session, these daily exit slips are perfect!  They only take a few minutes, but they require kids to think about what they read and let you, their teacher, know about it.  Just work it into the daily reading routine in your classroom, and it will become super quick and easy!Daily exit slip example for independent reading accountability

Get the FREE daily exit slips here!

4. Classic Reading Log

Although this idea may seem boring, a classic reading log (but during classroom reading time, not reading at home) can be a great way to keep track of what kids do during reading time.  A reading log can take many different forms, but simply having your students monitor the books they read can be an easy way to keep them accountable during independent reading time.  You can make your own version, or use one of the MANY options available on Pinterest and other places.


Making time for independent reading in the classroom can be super beneficial for your kiddos.  I hope these ideas can help you keep your students accountable during this time!  Do you have any other great ideas for accountability during independent reading?  Please leave a comment below or send me an email!