There are several ways to incorporate Reader's Workshop into a yearly plan.
  1. In September I work on the BIG SIX strategies using Read Aloud [high end children's books] reinforcing the strategies all good reader's use when they read. Try to find local story books from your community. This engages students more.
  2. Do a two week reader's workshop in October where you establish routines. Use short stories to teach the Seven Reading Strategies. I have developed units from two short stories for this purpose. Each one is designed to last a six day cycle.
  3. In November work on non-fiction lessons. I use national geographic sets for this, but I also have lots of non-fiction books available and have developed lessons around these.
  4. In December I take a break and work on Poetry and/or Drama
  5. In January I do Reader's workshop using novels.
  6. View my homepage to see other units I do in Language Arts.

The Structure of the Workshop:

THere are Four Components of Reader's Workshop

The Mini-Lesson:

Mini-lessons  are focused on a topic or skill that you know many of your students need. Sometimes they are centered around what you know about your students. The topic of the mini-lesson should not be something that most of the students already know how to do. The time for mini-lessons will vary, but should be quick (10 minutes or less). The teacher monitors the length of lessons over time, and strikes a balance between shorter and longer mini-lessons.

Find a categorized list of mini-lessons here.

Independent Class Reading: {ICR}

During independent reading time, students should be reading books/magazines/short stories of their choice. They should not be limited to guided reading books but are able to easily move between novels, short stories and non fiction titles. Student choices should not be dependent on reading levels, but should reflect a wide range of texts and genre. During independent class reading time, students develop the ability to focus in order to read for an extended time. I find they focus best by using A simple responding technique I have developed. They use good reader comprehension strategies as they move between genres.

The teacher establishes a reasonable amount of time for students to read independently.  Begin the school year with short periods of time and push the limits, keeping in mind students' developmental levels and monitoring their engagement.

Make sure you establish rules for ICR. Simplified rules

Individual and Small Group Work:

During independent reading time, the teacher should be having individual conferences and leading small groups. This is when explicit teaching should be evident. Instruction can include working with students at their reading level, but should also include a wide range of work on skills, strategies and reader identity. I find it helpful to have students track their own progress as well and then this leads into a better discussion during conference.  I use these: tracking questions for conferences and tracking chart. Small group work and individual conferences do not always need to depend on leveled texts. Individual conferences and small-group work should not be just observation and monitoring/assessment. Each encounter should help students understand themselves as readers, focus on improving a skill or strategy, and set goals for their reading. I find this chart helpful for students to understand their own involvement to help improve their reading. It is up to each teacher to figure out what a student needs to become more independent and thoughtful while reading. However, I find teaching students to respond while they read the best indicator that they are engaged and I use a simple technique to do this. Follow my Technique here.

Share Time/Closing Conversations

End the reading workshop time with a whole-class conversation. The focus for these conversations should be to share a skill or strategy, something students learned as readers, or one of many conversations about being a reader and the reading community in the classroom.

Read Aloud

Read aloud occurs most often as an instruction strategy to teach the Big Six Comprehension strategies.  It should be interactive, and focused on the skills and strategies that students need to improve their reading skills and become good readers. Read aloud time offers opportunities to have conversations that strengthen understanding and develop strategies for independent reading. Therefore I usually begin my year with these. Make sure to discuss developing themes, but also help students realize that as they move through the story their thinking might change and a theme may become clearer as they uncover characters and events in the story. This is oral talk while reading is called "Think Aloud".

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