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Home : 2008 : Dec : 13

    By Kermit

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    It's hard for me to explain starting it up, since I have only ever done this sort of teaching in my classroom.

    RW- do your kids currently have a DEAR time or some silent reading time during the day? If so, basically, you can begin to extend that into RW. Make each child a folder. In the folder (3 prong works well) they should keep a reading log, and some journaling papers for a response notebook. You can also have them put in any papers they work on relating to assigned reading work. After the reading time each day, you could have a child share what they read or I have found it works great to have them spend some time talking to a partner about their books. The easiest way to start is simply to start doing conferences while they do silent reading and adding sharing at the end. As you become more comfortable with that, you can transition to all the other aspects of reader's workshop.

    When you talk about RW, are you thinking of including reading groups into this as well? Are you currently using a basal or does your school have collections of books? If you are doing basal reading and need materials for them to read, you can meet with kids in small groups and just read from that if it's all you have. You can extend the discussion and include deeper connections for the advanced readers and really take it slow, working on decoding and vocabulary and fluency for the struggling readers.

    You don't HAVE to do reading groups as part of reader's workshop... that's a whole different aspect of it.

    I feel like a TRUE RW, includes:

    - a mini-lesson (10 minutes)-- can be read aloud at this time, but I do a lesson w/ a short book usually and then do the chapter book read aloud at a different time.
    - silent reading and conferring w/ teacher (20 minutes)
    - partner reading (younger grades usually) (20 minutes)
    - sharing (10 minutes)

    For older children, I have done book partnerships during the partner reading time. Beth Newingham's website has a lot about how to set that up. In fact, she has a lot of information about setting up RW in general.

    I would have my students do reader's response notebooks about 2x a week, not daily. This gives them time to just read, and time to reflect, but not both daily. You can alternate the sharing time with the reflecting time.

    To set up your conferences, I have made a binder that has a tab for each student. I record the books they read and take notes on the conference. I try to meet with each child each week, but my lowest readers almost daily. I would actually get my kids to read for 40 minutes independently each day while I did conferences. They read SO many books. We did book partnerships about 1/2 the time, so maybe we would do that once in awhile.

    Since silent reading is their favorite thing, I do that the most, but mix it up with other things:

    - reader's theatre (we all work in groups on a play for a week or so)
    - whole class novels (maybe a month on a novel, 3 times a year)
    - lit circles (for a couple of weeks, a couple times a year)
    - author studies (small groups read a book by an author and I do the read aloud by the same author)
    - genre studies (for example, I change my library at one point in the year so it's VERY heavy on non-fiction, and we read non-fiction for about a month. I have many students who never choose this, so it's fun.
    - preparing for a book talk of some kind (like doing book reports in some ways and that kind of preparation.)

    That's probably where it starts to feel overwhelming. You don't NEED to do those things, especially right away! Just begin with the silent reading and conferences. Move up from there into new things that you feel comfortable with.

    View the original thread this idea was posted on

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