Happy October! Hope your fall has gotten off to a great start, and you are getting into the groove of the new school year. I have been super busy working in my new model classrooms, leading professional development sessions, and packing! Yes, packing! It looks like I am moving. It’s been a crazy few weeks which is why I haven’t posted much on my blog. However, I’ve got lots to share and thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about our new challenges from now until the end of the year. Our focus will be reader’s workshop.
I have seven model classroom teachers that I am working with this year. Two of the classrooms I am coaching virtually (can’t wait to share with you more about the process). When I work with model classroom teachers, I always have them choose something they would like to focus on for the month. Almost all of the teachers wanted to focus on reader’s workshop.
Reader’s workshop is one of my favorite topics, so I can’t wait to share tips and tricks to help in the classroom. The first tip I’d like to share is to provide a structure for reader’s workshop.
Reader’s Workshop Schedule
Mini-lesson (10-15 minutes)
Small Groups (3-4 Groups about 15 minutes a piece)
Share Time (10 minutes)
Reader’s Workshop should last no more than an hour and a half. I also like to have no more than six students per group. However, I know sometimes this can be difficult when you have a lot of kids in your classroom.
One of the most important components of reader’s workshop is for students to be reading appropriate books on their level. Leveled books are necessary for small group instruction as well as independent reading. There are a lot of ways to decide on a student’s reading level, but my favorite way is to use the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) along with running records. Then I use a chart like this one to help me decide which books are appropriate for my students. I try to label the books in my library.
I also teach my students the five finger rule to help them determine books that are just right for them. While this is an excellent way to help them decide if the words are appropriate, I also like to teach them how to choose books that interest them and choose books based on their purpose for reading.
Now while levels are an important part of reader’s workshop, let me encourage you not to take it to the extremes. Don’t require that students only read AR books or never allow them to listen to quality literature. Students need to be exposed to a variety of books to develop a love of reading.
They also should be taught how to have great discussions around the books they are reading and those read to them. For example, one of my model classroom teachers, Jess, teaches her students about accountable talk to begin her reader’s workshop.
If you would like to learn more about my challenges, be sure to check out this post. There you will find more information about how you can join our community of learners to learn how you can incorporate technology into the curriculum. We’d love to have you!