Introduction“I believe that we primary-grade teachers have animportant dual challenge. We need to teach childrenhow to read, but we also need to teach them how tofall in love with reading. We need to teach childrenthe skills and strategies that good readers use, butwe also need to teach them the reading habits theywill keep long after they leave our classrooms.”“The independent reading workshop makes it possible to teach children thereading skills and strategies to get through texts, while also guiding themtoward independence, intention, and joy as readers.”
Chapter 1Creating Classrooms for Learners, Thinkers, & TalkersKathy Collins’ beliefs about teaching and learning that are mostimportant in making the independent reading workshopeffective for all learners: The ongoing pursuit of knowledge The importance of safety & consistency The importance of providing opportunities for independence The power of a print-rich, talk-rich, inviting classroom The value of clear & high expectations
Chapter 2Experiences in Literacy Throughout the DayWhat is an independentreading workshop?In an independent readingworkshop, the teacherprovides whole class,individual, and small group,direct, explicit readinginstruction to her students.When children readindependently during IRW,they read just-right booksthat match theirindependent reading level.
Guiding Principles of theIndependent Reading Workshop Readers have time to read independently every day. Readers select their own appropriate books. Readers take care of books. Readers respect each other’s reading time & reading lives. Readers have daily opportunities to talk about their books ingenuine ways. Readers don’t just read the words, but also understand thestory. Readers’ work in the independent reading workshop isreplicable outside the classroom.
Structure of an Independent Reading Workshop Mini lesson (10 minutes or less) Independent work time with instructionChildren are engaged in private reading time. Teacherprovides instruction during reading conferences and smallgroup work. Mid-workshop teachingChildren are engaged in partner reading time. Teacherprovides instruction during reading conferences and smallgroup work. Teaching share time
Architecture of a Mini-Lesson ConnectionConnect today’s lesson with yesterday’s lessonConnect today’s lesson with ongoing unit of studyConnect today’s lesson with students’ workConnect today’s lesson with and experience outside school Teaching PointPresent VerballyDemonstrate or Model Active EngagementChildren try out a new strategy or skill with a textChildren act like researchers as they watch a demonstrationChildren plan work out loudChildren imagine trying a skill or strategy Link to ongoing work
A Balanced Literacy Framework also includes thefollowing components as a part of the daily approachto teaching reading and writing: Independent Reading Workshop Writing Workshop Shared Reading Interactive Read-Aloudwith accountable talk Story time Small group work (guided reading, strategy lessons) Word study (phonics, spelling) Interactive writing
Sample Schedule for a Literacy Day8:30 am Arrival, morning jobs, library time8:45 Morning Meeting9:00 Shared Reading9:15 Independent Reading Workshop10:05 Word Study10:15 Writing Workshop11:10 Interactive Read-Aloud with Accountable Talk11:30 Lunch/recess12:15 pm Quiet time/free reading12:20 Math Workshop1:15 Social Studies, Science, Art, Choice Time1:45 Preparation2:35 Story Time2:50 Homework/pack up3:00 Dismissal
Chapter 3Units of Study in a Primary Reading WorkshopIn all other content areas we teach in units. So then, inindependent reading workshop, we should spend a few weeksof whole class instruction focused on one thing rather thanflitting from one teaching point to another.Having units of study in the independent reading workshop willhelp us plan for our teaching in a way that moves the groupalong while supporting individual learners.Each unit of study lays the groundwork for the next. They carry asense of continuity & consistency, and bring everyone to theending we all hope for: a classroom full of strong readers wholove to read, children who are ready for the work of the nextschool year & beyond.
Units of Study Across the School YearSeptember: Readers Build Good HabitsLate September-October: Readers Use Strategies to Figure OutWordsNovember-December: Readers Think and Talk about Books toGrow IdeasJanuary: Readers Use Word Power to Read &Understand Their BooksFebruary-May: Readers Pursue Their Interests inBooks & Other TextsJune: Readers Make Plans for Their ReadingLives
Teaching Topics Within Units of Study• September: Readers Build Good Habits• Management and procedural expectations• Reading identities• Taking care of books• Understanding workshop procedures• How to stay focused on our reading• How to work with reading partners• How to have a good talk with our partners• Late September-October: Readers Use Strategies to Figure Out Words• Getting our minds ready to read• Acquisition of print strategies• Flexibility with print strategies• Reading with fluency• Choosing just-right books• November-December: Readers Think and Talk About Books to Grow Ideas• Book talks with partners• Retelling• Envisioning, predicting, making connections, having thoughts• Strategies for monitoring comprehension• Strategies to fix comprehension challenges• February-May: Readers Pursue Their Interests in Books and Other Texts• Genre studies and author studies• Character studies• Reading projects• Determining importance, synthesizing text, inferring• June: Readers Make Plans for Their Reading Lives• Reflecting on how we’ve grown as readers• Making reading plans for the summer (and for life)• Setting goals as readers• Determining our new reading identities
Planning for the Units of StudyBackwards Planning (goal setting)Brainstorming teaching IdeasDrafting a teaching planRevising when necessaryEnd each unit with a celebration!
Getting Ready:Setting the Tone & the Bottom LineBecause independent reading workshop is every day,invest time in the first couple of weeks to teachstudents about the management and procedures ofreading workshop. Get to know students as readers& people, and by making clear the expectations fortone, work ethic, and behavior in the classroom.Teach students how to make transitions from mini-lessons to independent work time and how to workwith and talk with reading partners.
Bottom Line HabitsThese four habits are essential for reading and working together:Strong readers read every day.Strong readers talk about and think aboutbooks with other people.Strong readers read everything in sight.Strong readers take care of books & protecttheir reading time.