What is Reading Workshop?
Reading Workshop, “...structures reading time and activities to make reading the primary activity and to give students ownership of their reading,” (Graves, Juel & Graves, 2007, p. 306).
This model can be used in any grade level, but it is more likely used in primary schools.
It focuses on the teacher modeling important reading skills and strategies, and then letting students practice them independently.
Sharing Literature- Read Alouds
The teacher reads a book aloud to the whole group with the purpose of modeling appropriate reading behaviors and strategies. Texts are chosen from a range of genre and literary styles. Teachers need to make sure they have a planned purpose for each read aloud. Read alouds are an opportunity for teachers to model how they would like to read i.e. with enthusiasm, expression, tone, rhythm, intonation and fluency.
There are variations of the Reading Workshop, but all include these key elements.
This is a short 5/10 min whole class session. This minilesson is usually a quick demonstration of a reading habit, skill or strategy—a way for readers to handle a challenge or, in general, to lift the level of their reading work. (Lucy Calkins)
The Elements of Reading Workshop
The class environment is particulalry important when setting up a Reading Workshop approach. To support growth of reading stamina, students need to develop independence with selecting reading materials and also awareness of where and how they read best.
'Book Nooks' or a range of different spaces for reading needs to be set up. These can include seating at tables, standing spaces, cushioned areas, even under tables and cupboards! It is amazing how much more engaged young readers can be when offered a choice of where they can read.
I organised the class library to include a range of texts that are available for independent reading. They are clearly organised alphabetically by author's surname and non-fiction texts organised by topic. Students can quickly choose the books that engage them as readers and that are a 'good fit' for them. The library includes a selection of both teacher and student chosen texts.
Setting up the environment