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A Beginning List on the Don't and Do's of Reading Workshop

As I visit classrooms during the Reading Workshop time, I witness practices that are counterproductive to supporting students' reading habits. I made up the following two lists to sort this out in my head and to use when I work with teachers.

What NOT to do during Reading Workshop:

  • interrupt independent reading to talk to students about an assignment.
  • sit at your desk to catch up on paperwork or to answer emails.
  • give kids 10 minutes of independent reading one day and 45 minutes on another day. Make it consistent so students can plan for their reading.
  • abruptly stop kids' reading without a warning. Instead, allow them to find a logical stopping place before transitioning into a new activity.
  • treat independent reading as a choice among many. Independent reading should be something everybody does on a daily basis.
  • always tie reading to a "project" and a grade.
  • use the independent reading time to go to the library. This should be reserved for another time.
What TO DO during Reading Workshop:
  • give kids a regular independent reading time they can count on.
  • confer with as many kids as possible without rushing through each conference: take your time. Remember that each conference is an opportunity to converse with and teach each student.
  • demonstrate your own enthusiasm for reading by talking about books and sharing your reading life with students.
  • declutter the Reading Workshop so the structure is clear, simple, and predictable.
  • make independent reading the bulk of the Reading Workshop.
  • get to know your students so that you can suggest books for them to read. 
Do you agree with my lists? Do you have anything to add or take away? Leave a comment below.

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