Elements of a Successful Reading Workshop

Choice
Without a voice, students won’t learn or be engaged. Students must choose their own reading, with teacher guidance, and have the right to abandon any book that lets them down.

Access
Students need quality books to read, and the collection must evolve with current interests and tastes. A classroom library is a must, and you have to start somewhere. Libraries are important and necessary but not sufficient on their own.

Modeling
During workshop time, the teacher-facilitator must be conferencing with individual students or reading herself/himself. Sitting behind a desk on a computer or grading papers sends a message that you are NOT serious about reading.

Time to Read
If you value something, you prioritize it. You devote time to it. If you say you value reading, substantial time in your classroom must be devoted to READING.

Talking
Reading Workshop is community-building. Students need time daily, however short, to talk in their own manner about what they read to their peers, including the teacher. This is how comprehension and higher order thinking skills are built.

Writing
Writing should be as regular as reading, talking, listening and breathing. Talking is often a prerequisite for writing, but writing is where understanding is confirmed. Remember choice and voice need to be respected for writing to flourish.