This was my first week of teaching without our county adopted reading anthology + workbook = instruction model, and.I.loved.it!!!! When my students came into our classroom on Monday they noticed that there reading book had been removed from their desks. I didn't say a thing about where they went. I called my students over to the carpet for our mini-lesson for reading workshop and that's when I laid it on them that there was going to be no more reading boring stories out of our yellow reading book. Their faces were priceless! Not surprising, the boys in my class were the most excited.
My first task was to get my students to understand that they needed to be reading for longer periods of time. I am using A Curricular Plan for the Reading Workshop as my basis for my instruction and they begin with lessons to build reading stamina. My students bought into the idea of being able to read their book for a longer period of time. While we have only been at this one week, it became more and more difficult to get my students to put their books away, even after reading for 40 straight minutes!
After they finished their reading, students were eager to buzz about what they had read and learned that day. They busied themselves during their reading time writing sticky notes, and completing Independent Directed Reading tasks (IDR). The amount of times I had to redirect my students talking and off task behavior was greatly minimized. This approach to teaching reading is just what I've been looking for!
Several teacher friends of mine in my district have been asking about how to begin the Reading Workshop. I recommend getting the book The Book Whisperer, by Donalyn Miller