Tuesday, February 23, 2010

About Reader's Workshop: One versus the Whole

When I began teaching - not that long ago, I didn't really know much about teaching reading, especially once we got past the whole 'how to read' stage. I knew we should do some 'silent reading' (because everyone said that would calm students down after lunch) and I think I got them to do a lot of worksheets and some vocabulary. I kept trying to bring in higher order thinking, but only if it was with a common text (and usually a worksheet).

Back then I was thrilled if I could engage just one reader. I had a classroom library (I knew that was important, just not how important it was) and during silent reading time I'd try to find the book which would engage students. But I wasn't interested in moving students on to harder books, and if the kids looked like they were reading, I usually left them alone. I thought that loving to read was something only some children would pick up, and that finding each reader was like finding a diamond.

Since I've been teaching in the Reader's Workshop model, I've realised how wrong that is. Now I want every student in my class to love reading, to find books they will devour. I've realised that reading and being a reader isn't some mysterious mist that you blindly try to grab. Everyone has the right to be a reader.

I've seen the benefits of this change in philosophy already this year. When we met the students last year, one of them loudly groaned when I said they would become readers. In the past, I might have let him get away with reading his way through books that were easy, and repetitive. But the expectations are higher now, and I've watched him giggle his way through The Phantom Tollbooth and make plans to read the Hobbit - both books he wouldn't have even considered in the past. He's a reader now.

Read more about Reader's Workshop here.

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A Reader's Community

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Queensland, Australia
A Reader's Community is a place to find ideas, information, resources and recommendations about Reader's Workshop.

This Blog has five main types of posts.

About Reader's Workshop - information about Reader's Workshop in my classroom and how it works

Reader's Workshop Tools - resources you can access and use to help you with reader's workshop

Book talks - Book recommendations of two or three books centred around a particular theme

Book letters - in-depth reviews of one particular book

Reader's Workshop Links - Short links lists to help you find more information
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