Reader’s Workshop MiniSeries, Episode One: Scheduling Your Day *Freebie!
Today is the first installment of my Reader’s Workshop MiniSeries! It’ll run until August 17, and all freebies will be available on TPT! Check back to make sure you don’t miss a piece!
Scheduling is one of the biggest challenges teachers face, in my opinion. You have 1,000 things to do and when someone adds a new one in, they tell you, “It’ll just take ten minutes a day!” As if you have ten minutes a day where you and your kids all sit and stare at each other. Now you know what to do with all that down time! Right.
So every minute has to count.
Schools have different amounts of time that they allot for each subject. It really irks me when schools give you 90 minutes and call it “Language Arts.” That means that all the intricacies of Reading and Writing are being crammed into 90 minutes. It’s beyond me!
So ideally, you’d have 90 minutes for reading and another, special, dedicated writing time. (Don’t misunderstand me: I believe in integrating; I just don’t believe in replacing one with the other because you’re short on time!)
I included certain components daily in my Reader’s Workshop block, and this is what I recommend to my teachers.
Word Study was not always included as a part of Reader’s Workshop. However, kids need this time to work with reading skills so they can later apply them in their reading.
During this time, we worked with all of our word-study standards. This is not spelling. This is dedicated time for working with word patterns and parts, as well as decoding and word meaning skills. Prefixes, suffixes, root words, vowel teams, context clues, synonyms, antonyms, and dictionary skills all belong in this time.
I spent fifteen minutes daily, and students had a special Word Study Notebook. For more about Word Study, check out Episode 6: August 15.
One of my favorite read alouds for the beginning of the year.
The Read Aloud is one of the most challenging pieces for me to fit into my upper elementary reading block. It seems like it frequently takes a back burner, with all of the challenges we face with scheduling. However, it is important because it is an opportunity for several important things to happen:
1. It helps expose kids to books they wouldn’t normally read, include genres and levels of difficulty.
2. Teachers can model reading comprehension strategies that they want their students to learn.
3. Students can verbalize their responses without the hindrance of a low reading level.
I spent fifteen minutes daily (on my best days!), on the carpet.
For more on read alouds, check out the Episode 3 : Read Alouds on August 8.
Shared Reading is an important time for me. During this time, each student has a copy of the text (or somehow has access to the text, whether it is on a chart, projector, etc.). The text can be a picture book, chapter book, article, poem, etc. I use the genre of instruction in our scope & sequence.
Shared reading, for me, includes a text, questioning, responding, and often charting. I also embed my minilesson here. I know that might sound odd, but I have never had success with the 15 minute minilesson. It may work well for many, but personally, I needed more time to interact with the text and the kids. So my shared reading time is usually 25 or so minutes long, includes a minilesson (or as I call it, strategy focus), and students have opportunities to share their responses verbally and in writing in their reader’s notebooks.
For more on shared reading, check out the Episode 4: Shared Reading on August 10.
Independent Reading/Guided Reading
This is the most important time for the kids. During this time, students have to practice the strategy we worked on during Shared Reading. I usually provide a response structure or sentence starter for students to respond to after they’ve read, or during their reading time. Students read independently in a text they chose (with supervision) and respond in their notebooks.
I am seated at the guided reading table and I work with two small groups a day. This requires a very tight schedule, and an eye on the clock! Each guided reading group can be 18 minutes long, and students know that, when the bell rings, the groups change.
You're so awesome Chrissy! Miss you at PHES!
Thanks for the info. Plan on this for this year. Will be following along:)
Thanks for your great efforts