Reader’s Workshop is an important part of the day in a primary classroom. Personally, it’s my favorite time of the day. I enjoy the workshop model because it’s a clear and structured component to the school day. Teachers teach their mini lesson, move into small groups, and have share time.
The most important piece of advice for launching reader’s workshop is: DON’T RUSH IT! This precious, important part of the day takes diligent time to master. Students, especially in the primary grades, need to practice, practice, practice. If you want it to be smooth sailing, then you must move at a snail’s pace. I know you are eager for your students to just “get it” and immediately be able to do small groups and conferring; however, our students don’t work that way. They need ample time to practice routines and procedures.
What Is The Workshop Model?
When looking at the pie chart, you’ll notice the bulk of reader’s workshop is “work time”. Work time looks different in every classrooms. In my classroom I was typically holding guided reading groups and conducting reading conferences during this time while my students were doing their reading centers. We start together with a mini lesson, release for independent practice, and then come back together for share time.
Planning The First Week Of Reader’s Workshop
In this blog series, we are going to break down the first 3 weeks of reader’s workshop. This first week focuses on reading behaviors, how to read a book, and building stamina.
First Week Of Reader’s Workshop Lesson Plans
Lesson #1: Reading Behaviors
With your class, discuss and brainstorm what readers do versus what readers shouldn’t do. Start by talking about the following:
- What does a reader look like?
- What does a reader sound like?
- What are some things you might notice a reader doing?
It is also important to note while teaching this that all readers are different and read different things.
Lesson #2: 3 Ways To Read A Book
It is important to teach and model how to read a book. Teaching our students the 3 different ways to read a book helps set them up for success for the rest of the year. The 3 ways I teach are:
- Read the words
- Read the pictures
- Retell the story
Lesson #3: Building Stamina
We can compare how athletes build stamina to how our readers build stamina. We don’t expect a basketball player to run up and down the court numerous times in 1 hour with no breaks on their first day. So why would we expect our readers to read for 20 minutes straight without moving on their first day? Building stamina is similar for both athletes and readers; the equipment is just different.
How does building stamina work? Set a designated time every day (I did this after lunch) for students to sit and read from their book tubs. During these practice days, walk around and take notes on student reading behaviors. This will help you understand them better as readers. I also set up a growth chart to track our students’ reading stamina as a class. Students love to see the growth on the chart every day when independent reading time is over.
Download Our Free Reader’s Workshop Starter Kit!
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Check back next week for part 2 of our Reader’s Workshop Blog Series! We will focus on the second week of launching reader’s workshop!
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