You are here

Just Read It

Just Read It
Unlocking the Magic of Independent Reading in Middle and High School Classrooms

Foreword by Kwame Alexander

Additional resources:

February 2024 | 288 pages | Corwin

Read widely and read often - create a classroom environment where independent reading thrives

Independent reading is more than just “drop everything and read” – it is a gateway to writing, critical thinking, discussion, and deeper learning. Author Jarred Amato, an accomplished middle and high school English teacher and founder of Project LIT Community, believes in the power of independent reading not only to turn around the reading attitudes of students but also to help them achieve huge gains in all areas of literacy, learning, and civic engagement.

Many teachers have pushed aside independent reading in the time crunch to teach all the content and skills in the curriculum — or because of pressure to stay true to a traditional literary canon. Instead of looking at it as either/or, Just Read It shows teachers how to make independent reading “yes, and.” Dr. Amato’s Read and WRAP (write, reflect, analyze, participate) framework helps teachers cultivate meaningful learning experiences with daily dedication of independent reading time, followed by writing, reflection, conversation, and community-building lessons and activities.

With thoughtful, student-centered structures and strategies to sustain independent reading success, this book

  • Provides detailed insights on transforming the principles of access, choice, time, and community into actions
  • Shows how to support student interests and varied reading levels
  • Offers ready-to-go activities to initiate Read and WRAP routines at the start of the school year, keep momentum going, and finish the year strong to ensure continued literacy growth
  • Demonstrates how to leverage student feedback to fine-tune the Read and WRAP routines
  • Discusses various options for incorporating independent and whole-class novels into the curriculum
  • Offers a game plan to “level up” IR, including how to launch and lead a Project LIT chapter

We live in a time when choosing what we read is critically important, and this book offers all the tools teachers need to guide students along the path to true literacy. Just Read It is perfect for anyone who believes in the power of books to change students’ lives and nurture a life-long love for reading.

Warm-up: An Introduction
PART 1 The Fundamentals of Independent Reading
Chapter 1 Developing The Read and WRAP Framework
Chapter 2 Simplifying Our Approach to Shift Reading Mindsets
Chapter 3 Transforming Principles Into Actions: Strategies to Increase Access, Promote Choice, Guarantee Time, and Build Community
PART 2 – Strategies to Sustain Independent Reading Success
Chapter 4 Starting Strong: How to Invest Readers From Day One Through the “Intro To Lit” Unit
Chapter 5 Maintaining Momentum: Everyday Wrap Prompts to Engage and Empower All Readers
Chapter 6 Finishing With Finesse: Celebratory End-Of-Year Activities
PART 3 – Leveling Up and Maximizing the Impact of Independent Reading
Chapter 7 Leveraging Student Feedback to Strengthen Read and WRAP Routines
Chapter 8 Launching and Leading a Project Lit Chapter


Time and time again, Jarred Amato has proven himself to be an educator who successfully manages to get the most reluctant of students to choose reading and engagement with literature over myriad other forms of entertainment. In Just Read It, we get an inside view of his methods and practices presented in ways that are easy to emulate. This book should be required reading for every middle- and high school ELA teacher.

Nic Stone
#1 New York Times Bestselling author of Dear Martin

Without a doubt, books are hope and a location for healing. Jarred Amato recognizes this and many of us across the nation – teachers, scholars, and literacy specialists – have benefited from his teaching leadership and expertise, especially his dedication to promote youth agency, literacy, and brilliance. Jarred Amato’s superpower has always been his willingness to listen to young people as experts of their lives and to increase their access to engaging, diverse texts. This is why Just Read It: Unlocking the Magic of Independent Reading in Middle and High School Classrooms is such a phenomenal resource. Here, Jarred offers multiple steps for creating a positive literacy culture for students to write, to reflect, to analyze, and to participate across numerous communities. Amato reminds us that we must know our roles as educators, what our data tells us, and how the views of young people can inform our everyday practices. Jarred’s expertise is irreplaceable. At last, the great work of #ProjectLit within his classrooms is shared in a new book for all of us to read!

Bryan Ripley Crandall
Connecticut Writing Project Director, Associate Professor of English Education at Fairfield University, and co-host of the National Writing Project’s The Write Time

Jarred Amato’s Read and WRAP method has been invaluable to my literacy efforts with my students. This book is full of incredible ideas and practical activities to help enrich the reading lives of our students while still developing the skills that are most critical in an engaging way. This is a book I will come back to regularly and a MUST READ for any educator.

Carrie Friday
Media Specialist

Fostering a culture of passion and purpose through independent reading in classrooms empowers students to explore diverse perspectives, fuels their curiosity, and deepens their understanding of the world. Jarred Amato’s book helps educators grow their practice to initiate a love of learning to cultivate lifelong readers that actively engage with ideas and contribute to a meaningful society.

Nikki Healy ("Mrs. G")
Assistant Principal MNPS Early College High School

Engagement, access, and a love of reading aren't just for elementary school! Jarred Amato will inspire you while carefully guiding you on how to make literacy real for your middle school and high school students. You'll feel his love for teaching, books, and kids on every page, while quietly transforming your practices.

Tom Marshall
Principal and Author

I first heard about Project Lit Community and the work Jarred Amato and his high school students were doing in Nashville in 2018. What a life changing experience! Every moment of that June Summit I was inspired, incredibly excited and hopeful that my students and I could bring similar energy and love of reading to our high school in Washington. What I've experienced since then: witnessing dozens of my students step into leadership opportunities, participate in authentic and meaningful learning through literacy, connecting with incredible authors and rallying hundreds of others in their community to join in spreading the joys of reading.  Jarred Amato has changed many lives already through his unmatched generosity of sharing what works—this book guarantees that what he and his students have done will truly live forever and continue to impact readers, educators, and whole communities in ways that they may have never imagined.

Kristin Fraga Sierra
Teacher Librarian and Project Lit Abes Advisor at Lincoln High School in Tacoma WA

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781071934616

ISBN: 9781071907245