Reader's Notebook: How to Set Up This Powerful Instructional Tool

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

The Reader's Notebook can be the most powerful instructional tool within the classroom.

The Reader's Notebook is the place in which readers can see themselves as readers and watch as they progress and grow.

Within Reading Workshop, we must build a community in which students feel comfortable to talk and work. When we talk, our ideas and interests are discovered. Sometimes interests we didn’t even know we had can begin peeking through to the surface.


Launching reading and writing workshop at the beginning of the year needs to include some time for students to build and discover their reading identities and how this will be uncovered in their Reader's Notebook

Discovering and developing your reading identity provides some structure and boundaries within which you can find your interests.

For students to understand how to determine, develop and grow their reading identity, teachers need to share their own. Honesty can win a lot of hearts in the classroom and inspire others to be honest with themselves about their own reading identities.

I started every school year by launching my reading workshop. Part of the launching unit included sharing my reading identity and my Reader's Notebooks. Then students would work to build their own identities and Reader's Notebooks.

When we work towards a goal of sharing our honest selves with each other, we can establish the learning community needed to help each other grow towards proficiency.


This reading identity work became the foundation for Reader's Notebooks. It started by building reading identities through a series of activities for students to discover their true reading selves.