Sunday, August 14, 2016

Starting Up~Getting Ready for Reading Workshop

I recently returned from another summer reading institute at Teachers College.  It was a great week filled with learning, sharing, and networking with other like minded teachers from across the globe.  My mind is swirling from all the new information, review and reflection I did in five short days.

I attended one session with Simone Fraser that really helped me think about getting ready for reading workshop in my classroom.  As I prepare for my third graders this year, I'll be going over the following checklists, tips and practices. I've used some ideas from the session, as well as my own experience to create the's far from perfect, but it's a start!

  • Create an inviting area.  
  • Have a meeting area rug that is surrounded by books.
  • An easel that is easily seen and moved.
  • A plan for where students will sit-spots, as grapes, on seats, crates!
  • Establish a calm, inviting mood.
  • Have a clear, easily accessed library that is student centered.
  • Plan where charts are going to go~remember too many at a time create clutter and won't be used by kids.
  • An area where you can post strategy group meeting times and assignments.  This can be done with just sticky notes on a board.
  • Set-up an area for the tools that you and your kids will need.
    • Extra reading logs
    • Post-its
    • Book Boxes or Baggies-spread them around the room so that kids don't all crowd into an area at once!
    • Response journals
    • Pens, pencils, markers, chart paper, your teacher's toolkit, etc.!
  • Have kids create labels and organize bins or baskets with you!  From this process, you'll find the books they love, the ones they don't and what their ideas are for checking out and returning books.  
  • Use bins or baskets-books facing out will capture students' interest.  Bins that can be easily taken off shelves allow for kids to really peruse their options.
  • What books do kids need NOW?  What books will you put out later in the year?  Keep things fresh and interesting-have a wide variety, have A TON of books! :-)
  • Put books on display, like a bookstore-change your display often-create a recommended by...area.
  • Possible bin or basket labels-authors, series, mentor text, read alouds, class favorites, teacher favorites, sports, fantasy, mystery, other genres, etc.
  • To level label or not??  This came up many times during the week!  Although TCRWP has consistently supported F&P levels and labels on bins, many of this week's presenters were against that practice. I tend to put small stickers with a BAND of text complexity on my bins.  I don't level label individual books and I always label bins by genre, author, topic etc.
  • Number your bins and the books that belong in each bin.  I started doing this a few years ago~it's amazing how well it works and keeps your library neat, tidy and accessible.  Just put a small sticker on the bin and the backs of books.  Use STICKERS, because you never know when you might want to make a change, that way they can be peeled off or posted over!

  • Build excitement.
  • Teach students to be independent...well, try, and keep at it!  It will happen!
  • Do a lot of book talks about great books~create "book buzzes".
  • Read aloud OFTEN!
  • Build up reading stamina and reading muscles.
  • Teach routines, then, practice, practice, practice!
    •     How will students come to the meeting area?
    •     What will they bring with them?
    •     How will they leave?
    •     Classroom library routines and expectations
    •     Establish reading partners.
    •     How can they problem solve independently?
  • Remember, the time you spend now on teaching and practicing routines will be well worth it in the end!
MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES~The overall goal is for students to work independently with engagement and stamina.
  • Remember~ classroom management=productivity!
  • Use table conferences to support engagement.
  • Don't skip mid-workshop teaching points from the RUOS-they are often about management in the first unit!
  • Use facial gestures  and body language to your advantage.
  • Set expectations for student volume levels for talk and for work.
  • Tell the kids about management, tell them it's important, make them your allies!
  • Cheerlead for those who are working independently.
  • Don't sit still-monitor, remind, celebrate!

  • Students sketch a picture of one time or one book that really mattered to them and share out.
  • For older kids have them build a timeline of their "reading life" and share it with a partner or small group.
  • Students make their own bookmarks-have them make 6!
  • Create an ongoing class chart of favorite books.
  • Students bring in their favorite picture book and read aloud to each other.
  • Post quotes about reading on charts around the room, have students do a silent gallery walk, then choose one to write about that represents them and why.
  • Create a list of favorite books we read this summer and recommendations.  Have students do book buzzes in small groups about their books.
  • Teach kids about bands of text complexity early on-so they know that to expect and how to start navigating tougher texts.
  • Create "reading resolutions" or reading "hopes and dreams" for the year.
  • Post a stamina chart...set goals as a class and have mini celebrations along the way.

This is a start, I hope it gets you thinking about how you want your reading workshop to go. Please feel free to comment and add more tips! Bring on the kids, bring on great readers, bring on great books!  Let's get this party started!

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