Reading Workshop

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As your child's reading teacher I must begin by telling you that I believe there is no greater gift to your child than the ability to read and enjoy it. Therefore, I feel that one of my top priorities for your child is having him READ, READ, and then READ some more.

The backbone of our workshop is independent reading. This is where the real practice of reading occurs. Students self select books from the classroom library, home, or other library. They are asked to read these books practicing the skills and strategies we have been working with in our other areas of the workshop. Students are expected to record their reading thoughts and processes using sticky notes. These sticky notes act as check points for the students and me. The visual representation of the thoughts and processes help show the progress of the reader. The children are asked to work with these books by creating weekly responses in which a conversation about their thoughts is had. The students also get the opportunity to talk with other students about the books they are reading. Twice a marking period the students are expected to complete a book project that shows understanding of the book. These activities are chosen from the book menu. As students complete reading these books they are rewarded for the work they do.
 
Another aspect of our reading workshop is the read aloud. There are several benefits to a read aloud. First, the children are exposed to several types of text, some they may not ever experience otherwise. Second, the children are able to hear what good reading sounds like. In addition to hearing solid reading, the children can listen and watch behaviors of a sophisticated reader. What is asked of the students as readers is modeled during the read aloud.

Another portion of our workshop consists of an interactive read aloud. As the name implies, a "Read Aloud" is when someone reads a story, book of fiction, news article, picture book, essay, poem, or trade book to another person. This practice helps facilitate the development of various reading skills of children. In an Interactive Read Aloud, teachers select grade-appropriate reading materials in order to extend the students thinking and their ability to talk about texts. During an interactive read-aloud, the teacher engages in a series of activities, including: intentional conversation about the book; stopping at purposeful moments to emphasize story elements; asking guiding questions or focus questions; introducing, modeling, and using reading strategies and skills.

Guided reading is another area that is stressed during our reading workshop time. This is a time when I am able to meet with small groups of children to address specific needs. We practice reading strategies together with the goal of mastering the art of reading. This is the place where I can push the students to get better reading work from them. With guided reading I am able to teach specific skills and strategies to students based on need.

 
HELPFUL HINTS

Show your child you are a reader. My students and I have conversations about being tired the morning after we stayed up too late reading a book we could not put down. Seeing our enthusiasm for books goes a long way!

Make reading a part of your child's daily routine. Turn off the TV a few minutes early and encourage your child to read.

Have different types of reading materials available for the child. If you are baking ask your child to read you the ingredients. See a funny comic? Ask your child to read it to you. Any reading at any time is beneficial!

Talk to your child about the books he is reading and about the books you are reading. Tell your child what is amazing or heart wrenching about the book you are reading. Read a section of your book to your child and tell him why that part is memorable.

Help your child select books that are just right for him, and read books that may be too challenging with him.
 
Your child will have a bag full of books that will be on his independent reading level. Talk to your child about these books. Ask her questions. "What do you picture happening?" "What does this book remind you of?" "What do you think will happen next?" "Is this book like any other you have read before?"