In a previous post, 6 Tips for Building Community in Your Classroom, I said that community building is not just about decorating and getting to know the classroom, it’s about discovering the kinds of readers and writers that inhabit your new classroom.
Building classroom community continues when launching Reading Workshop.
When setting up your reading instruction, reader’s workshop encompasses your minilesson, your independent reading and small group instruction.
It’s just what it’s called…a workshop of reader’s working on their reading. It’s typically a 60-minute block of time: 10-14 minutes for minilesson, 40-45 minutes of conferring with readers during independent reading and guided reading groups, and a 5-minute share time at the end.
When launching Reader’s Workshop, students are guided through lessons that will build a community of readers that will grow together.
During this launch, students must get to know themselves as readers by establishing their reader’s identity and mapping a plan of how they want to grow.
As they investigate and dig deep into their reading lives, students will get to know themselves as readers and you, the teacher, will get to know the readers in your classroom.
Readers have to dig into their reading past to discover the kinds of readers they are. Then, they have to set some personal goals towards the kind of reader they want to become.
As you continue through the launch for Reader’s Workshop, students will be working together to make good book choices and share the kinds of thinking they do while they read. As students continue sharing their reading with their classmates and you, their Readers’ Notebooks will grow and evolve to become an authentic representation of each reader in your classroom.
Key Teaching Points to consider
during a Reader's Workshop Launch:
Procedural minilessons--Just how do we work during workshop time?
Procedural minilessons enhance the classroom environment and set the expectations for successful independent work so that the teacher can engage in small group instruction when appropriate. Procedural minilessons help to address common situations that occur and aid in disrupting workshop.
Establish a reading identity & Share/Model a reading identity
Students must understand their reading identity. Teachers must share their own reading identity and how it has evolved over time. This helps the readers in the classroom get to know each other. Check out the gallery below.
Introduce Readers notebooks
A Reader's Notebook is a place for students to keep track of their reading work. Teachers can use it to analyze student thinking and establish student reading goals based on the student's work. The Reader's Notebook will be a place for students to document their reading identity and see how it changes over time.
Readers must keep track of their reading choices. This will document how they are evolving as a reader. There are many options out there. Each reader may want to track their reading differently. Be creative in how you have readers keep track of their personal bookshelves.
Making good book choices
Book choice is key to a successful reading workshop. Students must have access to a variety of books. Every reader is different.
The kinds of thinking we do while we read
Students must understand that the thinking that goes on in their head does not necessarily sound like their classmates' thinking. Readers must understand that the kind of thinking that readers have evolves over time.
Stopping and jotting while I read
Stopping and jotting while we read is how we interact and react to text. This, too, evolves over time to show a reader's development and progress.
Managing the classroom library
Distinguishing types of genres
Every reader is different and unique. Exposure to different genres and types of texts is essential. Readers must be able to explore different genres to see what there is to offer in relation to their interests.
Getting help during reader’s workshop
Conferring is essential for understanding how readers work independently and offers an authentic way to differentiate the reading minilesson work for individual readers.
Extending thinking in my notebook
Students must begin to understand that thinking does not stop when the text ends. They must see how readers can take the interactions and reactions jotted about a text to build a deeper understanding.
Guidelines of readers’ workshop
Readers must understand how workshop looks like, sounds like and feels like.
Just think about how you all will be getting to know each other during this first couple of weeks sharing your reading interests, sharing your reading identities and developing into a community of readers who will grow together!
Until next time...
These minilessons are also available as a Mega Bundle for Readers' Workshop here
The Reading Workshop Bundle of minilessons along with progress monitoring resources, as well as, other resources to enhance your reading instruction are also available as part of a membership here, Building Readers Society. Just click here or up in the right hand corner of your screen.