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Reading Workshop

Learning — and loving — to read!
Reading Workshop is a research-based approach to literacy instruction that prepares students to become lifelong readers and writers.

Part 1: The Mini Lesson

Students gather with their teacher who introduces a new reading strategy or skill that will help them attain greater fluency and comprehension when they go off in the classroom to read independently. Students also engage in Interactive Read-Alouds with their teacher who thinks aloud while modeling the new strategy or skill with a picture book, novel or informational text. Students can see and hear precisely how to do the work of a focused and enthusiastic reader!

Part 2: Independent Practice

After the mini lesson, students go off to practice the new skill/strategy independently. Using books they’ve selected, your child will read (“eyes on print”) for 35-45 minutes. Throughout this portion of the Workshop, students use sticky notes to jot down their ideas, questions and discoveries. Teachers carefully and thoughtfully monitor the students’ reading habits and behaviors. During this time your child gets one-on-one attention from the teacher. Together, teacher and student confer about the reading strategy, and your child gets to show off his or her reading skills!

Part 3: Sharing

Research shows that when children read a lot of texts they can comprehend independently, they are able to read more complex texts successfully. Children love to share what they’re learning with others, so Reading Workshop always ends each day with time to talk about texts! Students gather and share how they connected the mini lesson to their independent reading that day. Sharing also allows the students to celebrate their accomplishments as readers with a community of like-minded learners.

Reading at Home

Students have at least 20 minutes of reading in addition to other daily homework assignments. You can help your child after school by asking, “What new strategy did you learn during Reading Workshop today that will help you with your reading goal?” Open a book with your child, and read together. Your child wants your time and attention, and reading together satisfies this need.

Choosing the Right Books to Read

Matching texts to readers is one of the most important ways to help students succeed. Help your child make sure books are a good fit with the “five-finger rule.” Listen to your child read a page aloud. Each time he misreads a word, hold up a finger. At the end of the page, ask your child to count your fingers and assess: 0-1 finger = too easy; 2-3 fingers = just right; 4-5 fingers = too hard. You can use this correlation chart - there’s a link on your child’s report card - to help your child select books from libraries:

Developmental Reading correlation chart