Why Workshop?

The learning model that supports artists and inventors, scientists and musicians is a powerful framework that can support the work of readers and writers in our classrooms. When you hear the word workshop, what do you think about? What space do you envision? What tools would you expect to be surrounded with? How do you see the time being used? How would that image change when you put the word "reading" in front of it?

The day to day routine of Reader's and Writers Workshop can be broken down to a number of activities, which can be arranged according to your own time table and students. Lessons will vary, depending on your grade, your class needs, but the workshop structure remains the same across grade and content areas.

Each Reading Workshop session begins with a mini-lesson that lasts approximately 1015 minutes. During each mini-lesson, the teacher introduces a specific concept, also known as the teaching point.

Students then get a chance to practice the skill or strategy on their own or with a partner.

During practice time students are engaged in self-selected texts at their independent level. They use this time to practice the skills that are taught during the mini-lessons. Students read in book nooks around the room while the teacher holds individual reading conferences or meets with small groups of students for guided reading, strategy lessons, or book clubs.

Small Group Instruction -

While the students are busy with their individual reading, the teacher has the opportunity to pull small groups of readers and writers together for work on a specific goal or strategy. These small group lessons are an important part of the workshop framework as students are able to explore and become skilled working as a group.

The Workshop classroom always end with celebration and sharing. These five minutes are not only critical to building readers confidence and pride, but serve as a reminder of what we have accomplished together as a literate community.

The Reading Workshop is a powerful instructional framework that can be used to support readers across multiple grades and content areas. The following presentation gives you an 'inside look" at organizing your time, space, and materials for this critical reading block.
Take another look at Becky's Classroom and see if the structure and routine make more sense.

Look for examples of the following:

  • Modeling (Mini-Lesson - 10 minutes or less)
  • Practice (Independent/Small Group)
  • Celebration/Sharing (about 5 minutes; Connect work back to mini-lesson.)

Getting Started

Employing the workshop framework in your classroom, means giving up some control and giving more responsibility to the student readers. Many teachers feel as though students in a reading workshop are not held accountable on a daily basis. Of course there are usually daily tasks, and teacher is also still meeting with students in individual conferences and in guided reading and strategy groups. The following resources are intended to help you make the transitions successful for you and your students.

Workshop Resources:

View videos of classrooms in action using the workshop model.