Reading Workshop

read aloud
I’ve heard of Reading Workshop in the older grades, but is it appropriate for Pre-k or Kindergarten? Yes, Reading Workshop can be adapted and made age appropriate for the younger grades.

What is Reading Workshop? Reading Workshop is one of the key components in a balanced literacy program. The purpose of Reading Workshop is to promote fluency and to provide time to nurture the love of reading and to learn about texts in a variety of ways. Reading Workshop builds a community of readers as students receive support from their peers and interact with each other to develop good literacy skills. Reading Workshop is not just guided reading groups, it’s a lesson sequence that if followed can help achieve the goals listed above. See the lesson sequence below.

How is Reading Workshop structured? The lesson sequence for Reading Workshop is as follows:

  • Mini-Lesson: 5-15 minutes depending on the lesson, some may run longer, some shorter- it depends on the lesson and the time of the year.
  • Independent Reading: The bulk of your time is spent here, 30 minutes, but shorter in the beginning of the year.
  • Share Time: 5-10 minutes

What is a mini-lesson? A mini-lesson is a brief, focused, teacher directed activity done in a whole group setting. A mini-lesson teaches specific strategies through demonstration and modeling, such as comprehension.

Can you give me an example of what a Reading Workshop mini-lesson would look like? It depends on the time of the year you are doing the mini-lesson.  In the beginning of the year you need to teach “procedural” mini-lessons to teach the children how Reading Workshop works, everything from how to turn the pages in a book gently to how to track print with their finger. Then, after they have learned the procedures you can move into more content.

  • An example of a procedural mini-lesson you would teach in the beginning of the year would be one about how to use the classroom library and the management system you have set up.
  • An example of a regular lesson would be one about left to right progression, tracking print as it’s read using a big book. Again, it depends on the time of the year you are teaching the lesson, and the ages and ability levels of your students.

independent reading
What do the students do during independent reading time? During independent reading time students are “reading” or looking at books.  They are incorporating what they learned from the mini-lesson into their reading strategies.

What does the teacher do during independent reading time? The teacher will be looking for evidence of students who are incorporating what they learned from the mini-lesson into their independent reading.  Most teachers conduct guided reading during independent reading time.  It is important to establish a solid reading workshop foundation via mini-lessons, modeling, and practice so your students will be capable of reading independently during this time.

What does share time look like? During share time the teacher may select a few students that he/she noticed were incorporating strategies learned during the mini-lesson into their reading. Those students then share their books and strategies with the class. Teachers may have to ask guiding questions to elicit desired responses. It is also beneficial to ask students questions about who, what, where, when, why, and how.

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