Reader's Workshop

Although this post could be a novel, as Reader's Workshop encompasses a lot of different aspect of reading (student and teacher), teaching and learning, and classroom environments and materials....I am going to use the KISS method today....(Keep It Super Simple).  If you know me at all, you know I am a huge fan of Reader's Workshop.  Like the Daily Five, it's just a structure...a way to teach reading.  It doesn't do the teaching for you and it doesn't write the lesson plans for you.  In many ways, Reader's Workshop and the Daily Five are the same, but in one small but very important way, they are different.  Reader's Workshop, embedded in the workshop model philosophy, the genuine reading & thinking struggles of the teacher, the teacher's metacognition shared out with the students, and the willingness to model this vulnerability in front of the students is critical to the success of the students in a Reader's Workshop format. 

In my humble opinion, the previous three books are all you need to teach reading comprehension in a Reader's Workshop format.  Mosaic of Thought is a not a step by step how to book, instead it's the book that gets your brain wrapped around your role and expectations as a Reader's Workshop teacher.  I created a glog book review on this book. 

Debbie Miller's book, Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades, is an easy to read, easy to follow book that is written in sequential order.  The first few chapters are about setting for a Reader's Workshop.  Then, each chapter is a strategy, in this order, Making Connections/ Schema, Visualizing, Predicting and Inferring, Questioning, Determining Importance in Non-Fiction and Synthesizing.  If you do a 6-8 week strategy study with mini-lessons, this book's content will cover the entire school year.  When I first began teaching in the Reader's Workshop format, I created daily mini-lessons for each strategy based on the book and linked them on my original website, Here are the mini-lessons.

In addition to the mini-lessons written for each strategy, I created a Reader's Workshop newsletter for parents explaining each strategy.  I would send each one home at the beginning of each new strategy unit.  Parents were grateful to have the background knowledge behind their child's new language.  Here are the newsletters, a series I named, Parent School. 

This year in my current position as the Curriculum and Instructional Resource Teacher and reading interventionist, I am fortunate to have a high group a sixteen 3rd graders for 90 minutes...I plan to teach in a Reader's Workshop and look forward to experimenting with the mini-lessons in Harvey and Goudvis, The Comprehension Tookit, grades 3-6.   



Jessica Meacham said...

Nice job, Jen! MOT transformed my philosophy of teaching reading 10 years ago. Have you ever tried this approach to strategy teaching-- Frontload in September (get D5 up and running), then start with metacognition/schema/connections, but at the same time gradually introduce the others. And from there be cyclical with your minilessons. I find it very confining to teach them month by month. It's more natural for me to want to talk about more than one strategy during a given day. I know that you continue with the others as you teach a new one, but I also know that I don't want to wait to teach synthesizing until the end of the year. Anyway, nice post! I enjoyed it. And, I'm linking it to my RW page as a resource. Your parent letters are fantastic!

Bernadette Lynch said...

Hi there Jennifer,
Wow, Congratulations on this awesome blog. I found it while searching for guided reading reciprocal teaching strategies. Teachers all over the world are attempting similar things with reading and metacognition, it seems! I love all your posts- a great teaching blog.
Here is my blog from Lara, Victoria, Australia

Erica Bohrer said...

I just found your blog through Pinterest. I love everything you share! Thank you.
Erica Bohrer's First Grade

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the time that I spent on your blog. As I was reading your parent school hand outs, I realized that the download for the synthesizing sheet was incomplete. Is there a way it can be re-uploaded. If it is an error on my part, I will be glad to go back and try again.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Awesome blog! I love the parent school resources! The newsletter for synthesizing seems to be having an issue. I can't wait to use these this year! Thank you!

Sara in Beirut in Lebanon said...

Like you, the first books I read about reading and writing workshop were Mosaic and Debbie Millar. I also read On Solid Ground in the same year. I teach 3rd grade over in Lebanon in the Middle East. Thank you for the great ideas and downloads. I will be back to visit often!

Shari Abbey said...

I'm anxious to hear your thoughts about the Comprehension Toolkit. We have been piloting that in my school this year.
Love your blog and all your products on TpT!

✿ Shari
Keeping It Fresh in 6th Grade

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