Over the summer, my colleague, Genie and I attended the Institute for the Teaching of Reading run
Teacher College Reading and Writing Project. I thought the workshop was exhilarating; I couldn’t wait to get back into the classroom to teach my kids everything I had learned.
My colleague, was deathly ill; recovering from pneumonia, but didn’t want to miss this great institute, filled with new ideas for us.
We carpooled together and each day, I couldn’t stop talking about the class while she was dying slowly in my car.
For the past few years, I implemented the structure of the Daily Five in my kindergarten classroom. I loved using the Daily Five, there are still parts of the Daily Five that I miss: but I left this workshop excited to try a different approach to structuring my reading time.
Could I like this structure better or would I want to go back to using Daily Five?
As teachers, I think it is always important to see what works in our classroom. Each year brings a different learning experience. We learn new things and try doing things in a new way. Over the course of the three-day workshop the instructor Christine talked about the components of a balanced literacy program; reading workshop, writing workshop, read aloud, word study and shared reading.
Today’s blog post is going to share what I learned about the structure of the reading workshop time using the Teacher College approach.
Unit of Study
Every few weeks the students engage in a unit of study that focuses on reading; this approach is similar to the writing workshop model. For example in the month of October the unit of study focuses on reading and talking about emergent storybooks. All of my lessons that I teach my students will connect to how reading and talking about books will help us grow as readers. The anchor charts we create in the classroom will connect to our unit of study. The studies last for 3-5 weeks. A resource called A Curricular Plan for The Reading Workshop by Lucy Calkins and the Reading and Writing Project gives you an outline of units to teach each month, an essential to have this book!
The unit of studies gives me a strong roadmap to where I need to take my students. There are times when modifications need to be made, but that is just part of good teaching. Another must have resource is Kathy Collins Growing Reader (Kathy is coming out with a new book soon).
Unit of Study: Readers Study Patterns in Big and Little Books
To Help Us Read and Talk About Books
The Mini-Lesson (7-12min)
Each workshop begins with a mini-lesson. The mini-lesson teaches the class about what we will be working on at reading workshop time. The Mini-lesson has four parts: the connection, the TEACH, active involvement (turn to your partner and try) and the link. If you use Lucy’s Calkins writing books, you will notice that all of her lessons are in that format.
Private Reading Time (15-30)
Each day students have assigned spots and begin Reading Time. Reading time is similar to Daily five- READ TO SELF; one difference is that students sit next to their Reading Partner. They may sit side-by-side or back-to-back. Once the bell has rung, students turn to their partner for partner reading. In the fall, kindergarten students are reading from book buckets on each table. The books can be from shared reading or star books. Students eventually move into book baggies with 'just-right' books. T
his year, I started everyone with book baggies at the same time.
During Daily Five-time, the students do not always have to start with Read to Self. The Daily Five structure lets student pick their reading partner too.
Partner Reading Time (10-15min)
Students are partnered with a child at the same reading level. Another surprising suggestion was to have the students have the same partner all year long. The thought is that the more students work together, the deeper their relationship/thinking will grow.
I would never have thought of keeping partnerships all year, but I understand the reasoning behind it. During the large group mini-lesson, the students are sitting next to their partner. In my class this year, I have changed partners a few times. I have found that although students are at the same reading level, their personalities may not be an excellent match.
Teaching Share (5min)
The class gathers on the rug and shares something they worked on as readers. At this time, I may ask kids to share things they noticed during the workshop. For example, if the mini-lesson focused on taking a picture walk before reading, a child could demonstrate to the class how they did that.
What is the teacher doing during Reading Workshop time?
The teacher is...
- Small group guided reading
- Small group strategy lesson
I believe the primary goal of reading workshop time in kindergarten is to develop confidence and love of reading. The reading workshop in September will look different then the workshop time in the spring. We want to provide various books for student to read: book bags, writing workshop books, poetry binders/notebooks, classroom made big books, and favorite song charts, the list is limitless!!
No matter what time of year it is; students are at different places in their literacy journey; it is our job to help them grow.
My next blog post will go in-depth about the structure of the mini-lesson what I love about it and what I find challenging.
I would love to hear comments from you...what kind of structure do you use for reading workshop? What do love about it and what do you find challenging?