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How to Implement a Reading & Writing Workshop

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  • 0:00 Literacy Education
  • 0:55 Reading & Writing Workshop
  • 3:38 Tips for Implementation
  • 6:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

The workshop model of literacy instruction is popular because it has been shown to improve student reading and writing. During this lesson, we'll examine what the workshop model is, including its basic components, and how best to implement it.

Literacy Education

Brandy is a new teacher, and she's very excited to teach her students how to read and write. But she's nervous, too. She's not exactly sure how she should best teach reading and writing. Should she have every student reading the same thing at the same time? Should she let them write whatever they want? How should she organize the time she has with her students?

Brandy is teaching literacy, or reading, writing, and speaking. And her questions center on how to teach literacy, a question that many teachers face.

There are many different ways to approach teaching reading and writing. Brandy has heard that the reading and writing workshop is particularly good. But she's not sure what it is or how to implement it in her classroom. To help Brandy out, let's look closer at the workshop model for teaching literacy and how teachers can get the workshop model up and running in their classrooms.

Reading and Writing Workshop

Ok. Brandy knows that she needs to teach her students how to read and write. She has two class periods with them every day, one dedicated to reading and one dedicated to writing. But that's a lot of time to organize, and she's not sure what to do in that time.

Brandy knows that she wants to implement the workshop model of literacy instruction, which involves teaching strategies for reading and writing through individualized attention and whole-group reflection.

That sounds a little confusing to Brandy. What, exactly, does the workshop model look like in the classroom?

In a workshop model, every day will include one period of reading workshop and one period of writing workshop. Each workshop will include three elements:

1. Mini-lesson. In the workshop model, the teacher only stands at the front of the class and teaches for 10-15 minutes. That means that Brandy will have to keep her lessons very short and focused. For example, she might include a short lesson one day on how to use subtitles as a guide when reading non-fiction or how to add in sensory details to a writing piece. Whatever she teaches, she'll want to make sure it is a small enough chunk for her students to learn about it in 10-15 minutes.

2. Practice. The bulk of the class period in the workshop model involves student practice of about 30 minutes or so. During this time, students can work individually, in small groups, or with Brandy to practice their reading and writing. For example, after Brandy's mini-lesson during reading workshop, she might send students off to read independently. She could pull one or two students aside to work with them on their reading, and she could also have a few students work together in a small group without her.

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