Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Peek into Our Reader's Workshop~

Recently Laura Komos of Our Camp Read-A-Lot shared her reflections to an article from Ed Leadership magazine (from ASCD) written by Richard Allington and Rachael Gabriel titled Every Child, Every Day. As I read Laura's post I felt a connection in our beliefs in literacy practice. One part in particular really stuck with me.
Those struggling readers who are pulled in so many directions for so many interventions MUST have time to engage in real reading every day so they can see how reading looks as a complete process, not just a set of isolated skills. 
I watch the look on the faces of reader's as they leave to go to reading each day. I know they LOVE going and they are learning, but I also know they are feeling torn. It's so hard to be in two places at one time. I try to accommodate my readers who leave each day. I rotate workshops to help them miss less, I try to pull these readers later in the workshop when pulling groups but, somehow time always wins!
Just before reading Laura's post I heard Xander grumble softly to a reading buddy, "Sorry, I can't work with you now, Mrs. Frazier wants me to go to her." He followed me to a space, head hanging, he worked well, but when we finished he SKIPPED back to his buddy as soon as he could! It's not hard to see where the learning was more powerful and long lasting! 

 Two girls collaborate to record their new learning about raccoons. 

Readers work together to understand how non-fiction features help readers.

This group has been working together for a week. They are working to learn more about the countries in our Kids Speak. Notice the maps and various country books!

J reads to learn more about Kenya as he browses the index for specific information. (He is part of the above group.)

D reads independently to learn more about more about weird bugs. 

These readers work collaboratively and share exciting findings as they new books!  

These two readers work together to write a joke book like the one they've been reading for DAYS!

B and A share their thinking by creating VoiceThread about their reading. This VoiceThread was shared with peers and families who were also invited to comment.

Readers grab the Happy Reading bag and head to the library to grab a few new books to share with our classroom. 

Here are the books our friends choose for us at the library! 

With all this real reading how could I pull anyone today? I am so glad I took this time to step back and take a closer look at how our readers are using their reading time.  In our workshop readers do the work of real readers from book selection to sharing! I am feeling confident they are developing life long reading skills.  I understand my readers need additional support at times, but I also know I need to allow all readers time to do the work of a reader, all readers need time to be readers.


  1. Deb, I agree that it's hard to know where to draw the line. I still wonder how we best balance the needs of our kids needing intervention. I have some kids who are out of my room for 2 hours a day. It's frustrating. Thanks for sharing and now I need to go to Laura's blog. By the way, I LOVE the pics! Lots of real reading going on.

  2. I loved peeking into your classroom! It gives me such joy to see kids engaged in the real reading that is happening in your pictures. The next time we get together, we definitely need to do some more idea-sharing. :) Loved how you said "all readers need time to be readers." So true!