Friday, March 19, 2010

About Reader's Workshop: Keeping them Interested

Today I'm going to ask my students some questions about Reader's Workshop in preparation for my first professional development session on Wednesday. I want to know how they feel about it, how it's changed their reading, and how they feel about reading now.

Thinking about it reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a student who was in my class last year. We were both looking at the board which records how many books my students have read this year (overall) and how many I've read. We talked about the books briefly, and I asked how many books he'd read this year.

"Um," he looked away and then held up his hand to make a circle. "None."

This was an absolute surprise as he'd been one of my best readers last year, working his way through a number of adventure and spy books. I recommended a few that I thought he and his sister (I taught her a few years ago) would enjoy, and watched him walk away, a pretty heavy feeling in my heart.

What had changed since last year? I know he had a new teacher, but he was reading before I had him as a student. Is it time? Is it the other students around him? Is it the fact that he's nearly a teenager and reading just isn't 'done' anymore?

I mentioned yesterday that we don't have a culture of reading at our school. This is pretty evident when the students dress up as their favourite book character for book week and most of the students are dressed as TV or movie characters. The question would be, how do you create a culture of reading? Is it enough that a school has that culture, or does it need to extend beyond the school gates, to the local libraries and the community in general?

I'd love to see our school get truly interested and excited about reading. To see them promoting books on assembly and having book posters around the school. To see students talking about books, and parents coming in regularly to read with the students. To see books in every classroom, and students taking over the spaces around the school that are perfect for reading (under the mango tree, in the gardens near the buildings, in the library).

I know I can't achieve that much without some help, but I think I know where I can start. Next term, when I'm not out of the classroom so much, I'm going to begin a book club. It's time to get them, and keep them, interested.

Read more about Reader's Workshop here

Photo from Flickr


KimY said...

Do you have a Teacher-Librarian at your school? If you do, then surely you have an ally there to help you develop the school's reading culture!

I would love to have more teachers like you that are passionate about books and reading to help me develop our school's reading culture. As a Teacher-Librarian I work very hard to do this BUT it would be easier if the reading culture I'm trying to develop flowed into the classrooms more...

Kim :)

A Reader's Community said...

We do have a teacher-librarian, but an extremely busy part-time one, who's definately tried a tonne of things to encourage reading in the past, with varying degrees of success.

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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