What is Balanced Literacy?

What is Balanced Literacy?

What is Reader's Workshop?

The short answer: Reader's Workshop is a teaching model which allows students to enjoy and improve their reading.

The longer answer: Reader's Workshop is made up of a number of components, with the aim of improving student reading through reading. Students choose the books they read and read for an extended period during class time. Students are also expected to read at home. Along with the extended reading time, students participate in: 

  • mini-lessons about everything from choosing books to character motivation, informational text structures to identifying main ideas, a synthesis summary to cross synthesis of texts.
  • active engagement to practice the strategy to gain a better understanding of a skill
  • book talks in which students promote and recommend books they enjoy
  • teacher conferences - focused conversations with the teacher about the book they are currently reading
  • small group lessons - a chance for the teacher to work with a small group on specific skills and strategies
  • share sessions to learn from others and reflect on metacognitive strategies

How does this improve student's reading? We think about the process mirroring the process of when we learn an instrument, learn a new sport, or take lessons at dancing, we know we can only improve by practicing. Readers get better by practicing. Of course, guidance is needed - as in dance, music or sport. This is where the mini lessons, teacher conferences and small group lessons come in. But most of the reading time is devoted to just that - reading, rather than worksheets,comprehension question and answer sessions, or book reports.

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