Thursday, August 8, 2013

Launching the Reading Workshop Highlights and a few freebies

It is Thursday, I made it though co-teaching for two days this week. That is a first for me! I am exhausted, but it was a lot of fun. I've posted about Reading Workshop in the past here, but I wanted to share some of the highlights from yesterday's workshop for those that were asking for it. For those that are curious, we used Around the Reading Workshop in 180 Days as our text. Each participant received a copy to read and use as a guide through the school year.
We started by asking the group what makes a sophisticated, proficient reader. We gave them time to really think about what they want their students to be as readers. It was really great to hear everyone's responses...developing a love of reading was high on everyone's list.

After a few activities to get them thinking about how they teach reading we did a mini-reading workshop. I played teacher, and they were my students. I read them one of my favorites during our mini-lesson time, How Many Days to America?  by Eve Bunting.
I modeled a lesson I teach my kiddos early in the year called "Reading is Thinking." I tell my kiddos that good readers are always thinking. As I read the book, I write down and orally say what I am thinking so my kiddos (or the adults in this case) can hear my thoughts. After a few pages, I have the "students" jot down their thoughts on post-it notes. About half-way through the book I had them turn and talk with a neighbor sharing what they were thinking. We do it again when we are almost finished with the story.

Once I have finished the book, we make a list of all the types of things we think about while we read. In my classroom, I would give my kiddos this bookmark to use for the week to help them remember that they should be thinking while they read. You can download it for free here.
Picture of Free Teacher Downloads at Teaching Blog Addict
 Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
We did have the adults read their personal choice books for a little while, just so they could get the feel of a workshop.

After lunch, we talked about what a true Reading Workshop looks like. Here's my slide of it from the presentation.

Then we talked about the timing of it. How long should each part take etc. I am jealous of those of you that have a 90 min. reading block...I only have 50-55 min. so the graph below is based on that time.

Finally, we talked about the Reader's Notebook. I walked them through mine, and gave them each a copy of my Reader's Notebook set-up. If you haven't already, you can get it for free from my TPT store. They were also given a copy of my Reading Skills and Strategies Bookmarks and Organizers (Reading is Thinking is a part of this set) to help them as they start to plan their year.

If you are interested you can pick it up from my store here. This is a product that I keep adding to as I teach different skills and strategies, so if you do pick it up be sure to check for updates periodically.

After working with so many people from different schools yesterday I have a few questions. (Thanks to those of you who took the time to tell me about your Reading block yesterday!)
How often do your kiddos get to read personal choice books in your room? 
Do you have to teach from a reader at your school, or are you allowed to use novels in your classroom? 


  1. I give my kids a minimum of 20 minutes of free choice reading every day. As the year progresses, the time increases.
    I'm a little nervous about this year though. We've adopted a Reading program that incorporates a Reading textbook, and I'm not sure how well I'm going to like it. I've always used novel studies and free choice reading in the past.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Last year I launched the Daily 5 in my classroom so students had at least 30 minutes to read independently each day while I met with groups or individual students. That group was definitely an exception, but they would often ask for independent reading time as a reward!

    We haven't adopted a formal reading program which I love because when I can use novels and choose the books I'm more likely to catch the students interest. Last year cats, sports, and fairies seemed to be hit topics. This year's group are sure to have completely different interest. I always have fun discovering what will draw them in.

  3. I give my students at least 15 minutes of reading time in my classroom. I've never worked in a district that required us to use the provided textbooks, so my students have free choice most of the time (although we do a couple of whole-class novels each year). I typically allow my students to read independently or start a book club in a group of 4 where they read the same book together. They LOVE book clubs!

  4. You do not know how happy I am to have found this post. I have been struggling with how to do reading workshop with just 55 minutes and this is perfect. My only question is how do you incorporate grammar and writing? Or are those mini-lessons?

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    1. Hi Jamie,
      I thankfully have another block when I am able to teach grammar and writing. Do you have 55 min to teach reading, writing, and grammar? Feel free to e-mail me at I'd be happy to brainstorm with you!

  5. Your workshop sounds wonderful! I love you approach. This year I am squeezing in an extra independent reading time every day in addition 5o our reading/writing/grammar/sspelling block. Also going to have the kids do IR during bus call to encourage more reading and cut back on misbehavior. Glad it all went well for you, hope you have something fun planned tomorrow!