Thursday, June 2, 2011

Help! Reader's Workshop!

In the summer, I like to research things to use in my classroom and look up pictures of other great classrooms to get some ideas. Lately, I've been seeing a lot about reader's workshop. After spending over an hour just now trying to find out exactly what this is and how to begin teaching it, I'm still confused about it. I found Mrs. Jones's Hello Literacy website (which by the way, if you haven't been to this site, go now! Wonderful, great, fantastic, resources!), but I'm still unsure what reader's workshop is. Is this a stand alone program or can you incorporate it into your reading series? If anyone has any info or websites that explain more about reader's workshop or books about it, please comment or email me :) I know I can always count on my blog teachers out there to answer my questions :) :)


  1. The best book that explains Reading Workshop is Sharon Taberski's On Solid Ground. The Daily Five is also another good one.
    This is how I structure my Reading Workshop:
    Whole Group (30 minutes) it's usually a read aloud and a mini lesson..with instructions or an invitation to try something I've taught them in the mini lesson. Then students go off and read. They are either reading by themselves or with a partner or responding to something they've read or listening to reading.I pull small groups during this time (one to two groups and one to two reading conferences). Then we come together for sharing.
    My district uses Reading Street too and my mini lessons usually come from the comprehension skill or strategy or the phonics for the week. So you could totally incorporate reading workshop it in with RS. It's not so much of a program but more of a philosophy of how you view literacy learning in your classroom.
    Check out Mrs. Tabb's post:
    Hope I've helped.
    Ms. A

  2. first, I am not an expert.
    RW is most often modeled after Debbie Miller/Kathy Collins/Lucy Calkins- it's a mini lesson, followed by kids reading with a buddy or by themselves while you pull groups or circulate and conference. Daily 5/Cafe is sort of like workshop. You can use your reading series, you'd just be using that curriculum for the mini lessons. Hopefully that gets you started & someone else explains even better!

  3. I recommend Reading With Meaning by Debbie Miller or Growing Readers by Kathy Collins. There's a pretty BIG book by Fountas & Pinnell called Guiding Readers & Writers, and it is AMAZING! It looks intimidating, but if you digest it in chunks, it's really palatable! It's more of a framework than anything, and once you get a feel for how mini-lessons are structured, it begins to take on a life of its own and feel more automatic. This was my third year of Reading Workshop, and it's slowly becoming second nature, although it's still quite a bit of work. The framework is pretty much always the same, the hard work is knowing how to be responsive to your students needs and tweaking your lessons to fit that, but we do that anyway! :)


  4. Leslie Ann,
    Check out this website
    It is awesome!
    I recommend Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller and Guided Reading by Fountas and Pinnell. These have been my guides. Growing Readers is another read too ( I have heard alot about, but never read).
    I have used reading workshop with a basal, but so much more worth it w/out and also teach through themes. If you must use a basal, you CAN do both.

    Glad you like the new blogname

    Learn with Me in Grade Three

    (ps can you teach me how to link my http to my blog name in a comment)

  5. hey!
    I seriously LOVE reader's workshop! I would recommend starting with Lucy Caulkin's The Art of Teaching Reading for the framework of workshop. From there, I'd look at some Kathy Collins. Here is a VERY general framework for the way they lay a workshop out- after you have a workshop up and running well:

    10 Min. Mini lesson: A mini lesson actually has a very specific and predicable structure.
    It starts with a a connection (readers, we've been working on....) then you give a VERY explicit teaching point (Today, I'll teach you how to....) then you give them a chance to try it right there on the carpet (readers, turn to your neighbor and....or readers, get a book out of your bag and lets try this right now) then you link the teaching point to what you hope they'll try as readers today and everyday. all that happens in LESS than 10-15 mins tops. From there, I send them off to read independently for about 20 mins. Then, they'll get a midworkshop teaching point (like 2 mins long) and that is where I'll give them one more SMALL teaching point and then that is their cue to move to reading with partners for about 15 more mins. While they do all this reading, I am conferring (good books for conferring are ones by Jennifer Serravallo and Gravity Goldberg) and meeting with small groups that have similar needs.

    I HOPE that makes a little sense. Let me know if you want to chat some more about it! It's given me a completely different outlook on teaching reading, but I had to get core workshop fundamentals in my head before I could make it effective

    mrs tabb =)

  6. I base my reading workshop time on 4Blocks self-selected reading framework and Daily5 (more 4Blocks). This is a very simple format to use and I typically get to conference with my kids once every week or two (every week is the goal). I choose not to do buddy reading during this time...and the silence is golden. It is literally my students' favorite time of the day!

  7. First of all, thanks for the shout-out! To simply answer your question...Reader's Workshop is a structure, an instructional framework for teaching reading derived from "the workshop model." It does not replace the content of "what" you are teaching, just how you teach it.

    Jennifer Jones