Self-selected, or independent reading, is a situation the teacher creates which encourages and supports students in participating in reading activities.  The purpose of self-selected reading is for students to see themselves as competent readers. Students are not required to read independently during these activities, but rather encouraged to engage in reading and reading focused activities and discussion on topics of their choosing.

​Goals for Self-Selected Reading:

  • Share different kinds of literature through teacher read-aloud.
  • Encourage children’s reading interests.
  • Provide instructional-level materials.
  • Build intrinsic motivation.

 Cunningham, Hall & Sigmon, 1999

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How To Make Books Accessible for All Students?

  • Page Fluffers Little additions to make book pages easier to turn for students with motor impairments
  • Audiobooks
  • Digital Books to allow page turning using a switch (Tarheel Reader, Powerpoint with switch set up to emulate the "return" button)


  • Teacher Read Alouds
  • Mini-Lessons
  • Leveled and Categorized Books in a Classroom Library
  • Teacher conferencing with students
  • Reader Share Time

Development Resources

Ideas for Getting Started:

  • Create a Classroom Library:  Target having 1500 books in a variety of topics, reading levels, and formats. Books will be organized by categories and topics which can include individual authors, favorite series, non-fiction books.  This library should be accessible so it can include many different formats such as e-books, online books such as Tarheel Reader, and student authored books. Here's a great little article with LOTS of info!
  • Designate a Reader's Review or Sharing Corner where students can share with their peers about their favorite books. This can look very different between students, so be creative in supporting this sharing, in particular with our students with complex communication needs.  Students can share by showing pictures, telling about the book, creating messages using their AAC systems or writing "Book Reviews" using cut and past structured activities.

References and Sources:

Cunningham, Patricia Marr, et al. The Teacher's Guide to the Four Blocks: a Multimethod, Multilevel Framework for Grades 1-3. Carson-Dellosa Publishing, LLC, 1999.

Erickson, Karen, and David Koppenhaver. Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks® Way, Grades 1 - 3. Four Blocks, 2008.

​Erickson, Karen, et al. “Self-Selected Reading: Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities.” Self-Selected Reading | Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities,

Comprehensive Literacy for All: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write, by Karen A. Erickson and David Koppenhaver, Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co, 2020, pp. 119–140.​

“An Educator's Guide to Making Textbooks Accessible and Usable for Students with Learning Disabilities.” Reading Rockets, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), 12 Nov. 2013,


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