What is Readers’
Workshop is a format that provides the structure to support
children learning to read. The workshop is designed for use
with grades K-5 and is designed for 60 minutes a day.
Activities are designed to teach youngsters what good
readers do. Predictable rituals and routines structure the
workshop to provide consistent expectations.
does the class period look like during Readers’ Workshop?
Readers’ Workshop contains three parts: an Opening, a
Work Session, and a Closing.
Opening, the teacher teaches a 10-15 minute mini-lesson
that brings the entire class together as a whole group for a
single reading focus.
During the 35-40
minute Work Session the students read (independently
in their “just right” books, with partners, or participating
in literature circles or books clubs). The teacher confers
with individual students, conducts guided reading or
strategy groups, or assesses students.
The 5-10 minute
Closing brings the students back together to share
what they learned as a reader, often reinforcing the
mini-lesson. Sometimes the Closing is used to clear up
misconceptions that the teacher has observed during the Work
student(s) to share in Closing
Conducting a guided reading or strategy group
Conferring with an individual students
Facilitating literature circle or book club
with a partner
Participating in a literature circle or book club
Participating in a conference
Participating in a guided reading or strategy group
What did you learn
as a reader today?
drives the Readers’ Workshop?
grade level has a set of internationally benchmarked
standards that provide a framework for instruction. However
the mini-lessons are chosen through on-going assessment that
often includes running records, anecdotal notes, interest
inventories, written assessment, and direct observation.
Lessons are chosen to move the class toward the standard.
is a mini-lesson?
mini-lesson focuses on a single concept such as a procedure
(ritual or routine), a reading strategy (such as inferring,
questioning, synthesizing) or a skill (such as a lesson on
how to read an unknown word). A mini-lesson has four parts:
the connection (connecting to what good readers do,
the standard, and what the class has been doing in previous
lessons), the teach (the single focus of the lesson),
the active involvement (the students practicing the
focus), and the link (linking to what the student
will be doing during the Work Session and what they will do
as readers “today and always”).
What is independent
Independent reading is when students independently read
material that is just right for them – books that the child
can read with 95% accuracy. In order to meet the standard,
books must be a variety of types (newspapers, magazines,
Internet articles, books) and genres (fiction, non-fictions,
biography). The only way to become a better reader is to
read. REFER TO READING MONOGRAPH: INDEPENDENT READING
is partner reading?
reading is pairing students at similar reading levels to
read and discuss books. Each reader takes a turn reading,
listening, and helping. Both partners become more excited
about reading and learn from the others strengths. REFER TO
READING MONOGRAPH: PARTNER READING
happens in a reading conference?
Conferring is one of the most powerful ways to communicate
with students about their goals, skills, and choices in
reading. Through one-on-one conferring the teacher offers
precise, individualized coaching, and direct instruction.
The teacher offers a piece of advice, demonstrates a
strategy, or asks that one question that can start to make
all the difference in a student’s reading. REFER TO READING
MONOGRAPH READING CONFERENCES
are guided reading and strategy groups?
of guided reading and strategy groups is to help children
learn to use independent reading strategies successfully.
Both types of instruction are for small groups (4-6
students) facilitated by the teacher. In guided reading
groups students are selected who are reading at the same
level and the teacher selects material at their
instructional level (text that can be read at 90-94%
accuracy). Strategy groups are brought together to practice
a single strategy and may include students reading at
different levels. In both cases the goal is to enable
students to acquire, use, and develop reading strategies
that translate to high levels of fluency and comprehension.
are book talks?
talks, like literature circles, are book discussion groups
with a group of peers to learn different perspectives,
interpretations, and strategies. Responding to books by
discussing elements with peers builds comprehension in a
social framework. REFER TO READING MONOGRAPH: TALKING ABOUT
is shared reading?
reading is used most commonly in the primary grades where
students are still focusing on learning to read rather than
solely on reading to learn. It is sometimes used during the
mini-lesson. The text in a shared reading is read with
the class instead of to the class. Shared reading is
used to teach skills and strategies and to practice fluency.
REFER TO READING MONOGRAPH: SHARED READING
is a read aloud?
In a read-aloud the teacher
reads aloud a book, poem, or article to the whole group.
Sometimes this is part of the mini-lesson but it can also be
in addition to the Readers’ Workshop block and may be
related to the content areas of Science and Social Studies.
During the reading the teacher models proficient reading,
fluency and the joy of reading. The goal is to read aloud
at least three times a day. REFER TO READING
MONOGRAPH: READING ALOUD