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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When we talk about writing good summaries, which we do often, we refer to the following chart.  Writing summaries and giving oral summaries are a big focus for us this year!  I have found my students are able to give more succinct, yet thorough summaries when we follow this chart.  All students have this chart copied into their reading journals!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A few thoughts on structure

As I begin my Reader's Workshop each morning I have a firm structure that I use to begin EACH day.  Let me explain:

My students come to the meeting space (a rug near my easel and rocking chair) with three things:  their reading folder, reading journal, and a pencil.  I don't allow them to bring their books for one simple reason.  They read instead of listen to the lesson!  :)  Imagine telling your students NOT to read, but sometimes it's necessary.

Students sit next to their literature partners, without exception.  This person is the workshop "turn and talk" partner.    I have assigned them partners, thinking of reading levels, attention concerns, genre interests, etc.  Some partners switch often, but I have a few that are static.  It all depends on the needs of the readers.

All students must be able to see the easel.  They occasionally take notes or copy anchor notes into their reading journal.

Journals:  Notes go in the back, work goes in the front.

This is how we start each day:

  • Students come in when the bell rings and begin the day's morning message.  This could be a math review, question generating task, or content area prompt.
  • After 5-10 minutes of work (during which time they must also make their lunch choice, turn in lunch money and library books, etc...the usual morning routine tasks) students do a "Fit with Fred" warm-up.
  • We are now 15 minutes into the day.  After FWF, students take out their reader's workshop materials, find their partner, sit down, and the lesson begins!
Please let me know if you have questions, another way of starting or organizing your workshop, or ideas to share!

All mini-lessons are approximately 12-15 minutes in length or less.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Welcome MRA attendees!

I want to begin this post by saying thank you to everyone that attended my Michigan Reading Association presentation on the Reader's Workshop method.  I strongly believe in this method and hope to help and encourage other teachers interested in running a reader's workshop in their classroom.

For MRA attendees, the following handout link will take you to the handout I ran out of on Sunday.  Sorry!  Within the next week or so I will add several posts to this blog, all addressing components of the reader's workshop.  I strongly encourage you to also check out the following:

To follow most efficiently, please click on the "follow" link to the right of this post.  If you have questions about my use of the Reader's Workshop method, feel free to send me an email ( or comment on this post!