As we help students become independent learners, we want them to understand that "independent" doesn't have to mean "completely alone." We nurture the growth of independence by providing instruction that supports learners.
At first we might offer a lot of support, but gradually we have to release more responsibility to the students for their learning. For example, when students first engage in research, we may provide questions to guide their analysis of sources. Later, we may generate questions with them. Further on, they may generate their own questions. Releasing responsibility does not mean we abandon students at the end, though. As long as they are in our classrooms, we can find teachable moments that can help them grow even more.
Learn more about Nurturing Informed Thinking on Heinemann.com
Sunday Cummins, a former classroom teacher and literacy coach, is the author of Close Reading of Informational Texts and Unpacking Complexity in Informational Texts. She has a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and taught at National Louis University. As a literacy consultant, she continues to teach and learn alongside educators with a focus on reading, writing, and creating informational sources. Sunday is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University and also served as Literacy Education Professor at National Louis University. You can learn more about her current work through her blog at sunday-cummins.com.