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    F & P Reader's Workshop
    By Elaine

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    I started implementing F&P-style reader's workshop last year after reading and discussing the book here on the Teachers As Readers Board. I had great success with the independent reading component simply by following the 20-day plan in the book. (I think that's what they called it. I don't have my book here in front of me right now.) The plan clearly outlines how to get kids started reading independently -- how to choose a just right book, write a lit response letter, how to keep records, etc.

    I'd follow that plan if I were you. The goal is to prepare students for working independently so that you can call together guided reading groups, conference with individuals, or meet with lit study groups. It's well worth the time spent "training" them.

    I didn't feel I did the guided reading component well at all, so this summer I have worked to develop some integrated units - social studies/reading/writing/speaking -- for guided reading.

    For example, the unit I will begin with in social studies is Flight which is a simulation from Interact in which students form flight teams and fly across an imaginary continent while applying map skills. Well it just turns out (luckily for me!) that this is the 100th Year of Flight (Wright Brothers -- Dec. 17, 1903), so I am integrating a genre study on biographies by having students read bios on Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and the Wright Brothers. All the work we do on these biographies will be done during guided reading. I will meet with 2 groups each day while the remainder of the class is involved in reading independently. I have at least an hour for this part of my communication arts block.

    Now, how much time is spent in a guided reading or lit study cycle? I think it will vary depending on what you are reading/doing, etc. I plan to wrap-up the guided reading biography study using no more than 2 weeks, but remember, students will be reading independently during this time as well.

    For reading homework, I assigned 20 minutes each night for my 4th graders. This year those students will be my 5th graders, and I am going to require the same 20 minutes but add 10 minutes of journal writing each night.

    That's a little about the way I've done things, but I am most interested in hearing what others will tell you. I am always looking for ways to make this thing work better for my students and for me. I am especially interested in hearing about others' reading/writing homework assignments. How do you hold students accountable for this kind of homework?

    Here's one last tip. Many of us discussed the F&P book last summer, so maybe you can visit the archives and find some valuable information.

    Good luck, and let us know how everything works for you.

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