Reading Workshop in Room 7 has begun! Reading Workshop takes place 2-4 times per week. It starts with a mini-lesson–I teach the students something about reading. These lessons will not be about letters or sounds (though I will teach about “sounding out” as one of many strategies to figure out tricky words). We do phonics lessons and activities, a key component of Balanced Literacy instruction indeed, at other times during the week. Instead, these reading lessons are about reading behaviors, strategies, and thinking and comprehension skills. For example, one of the recent lessons was about the three ways to read a book: Read the Words, Read the Pictures, or Retell the Story. I taught them to “read” the pictures to figure out what was going on in the story. They were shocked and empowered to learn that looking at (and thinking about!) the pictures counted as reading.
Then the students read on their own at their desks. They each have a book box filled with books they pick out once a week. On the first day of Reading Workshop they read for nearly 11 minutes completely independently! I told them I was going to alert the news because I had never had a Kindergarten class read for that long. It helped A LOT that half the class was out of the room at Garden, but they don’t need to know that 🙂 (then the students switched and the Garden kids came and did Reading Workshop and the Reading Workshop kids went to Garden).
I taught them about building stamina, equating it to the first time I decided to train for a half marathon. Our goal is 20 minutes of independent reading. When we reach our goal, we’re going to have a reading party!
After the students read independently, then they read with their desk partner. While the students are reading, our amazing academic mentor (teaching assistant), Ms. Deirdre, monitors the students and talks with them about their books. I put on my “off-limits” crown and work with individuals or small groups at the back table.