SEM-R Phase 2: Supported Independent Reading

Phase 2, Supported Independent Reading, is the heart of the SEM-R program. During Phase 2, students read independently from self-selected, challenging books of high interest, while the teacher holds conferences with individual students. These conferences should last for about 5-7 minutes, and each student should have a conference approximately once a week.

There are three major features of Phase 2:

  • Students engage in challenging independent reading.  Students should be reading self-selected books of interest that are at least 1 to 1.5 reading levels above their current reading level. The amount of time spent in Phase 2 should increase over time, based on student readiness and self-regulation, until students are reading independently about 35-45 minutes per day.
  • Students use self-regulation strategies to monitor their reading and behavior. They may use bookmarks to ask themselves questions, sticky notes to mark places in the book they will later discuss in conferences, signaling strategies to let the teacher know if they need help, and their log to keep track of their reading from day to day.
  • Teachers conduct individualized conferences to ask students questions and invite discussion; model and teach reading strategies; and assess student fluency, comprehension, and higher level skills. It is important for every student, including high-ability readers, to participate in the conferences on a regular basis.

During an individual conference, a teacher asks the student to share information about the book, and then to read a short section aloud. The teacher engages the student in a discussion about the book, asking questions such as those on the bookmarks, questions that prompt specific reading strategies, or questions specific to the actual book. The teacher uses the student’s oral reading and the discussion to determine whether the book is appropriately challenging, too easy, or too difficult for the student.

At the end of a conference, the teacher gives the student specific strategies, goals, or questions to work on during independent reading over the next several days until that student’s next conference.


Getting Started
Supported Independent Reading (SIR) occurs within Phase 2. The majority of your instruction will occur during individual reading conferences in Phase 2. Key considerations:

  • Establish clear expectations.
  • Keep conferences brief (approximately 5-7 minutes)
  • Reinforce an environment conducive to conferences.
  • In your conferences…
    • Have authentic conversations around the books to develop students’ overall enjoyment of reading.
    • Check for appropriate book matches in terms of readability level as well as ideas and content.
    • Provide specific instruction in reading skills and strategies based on students’ needs.
    • Ask questions to prompt students’ thinking – use the bookmarks as a starting place.