Mini Lessons

One mini-lesson to start out the reading workshop year consists of one question. Simply ask students to brainstorm answers to the question, “What do readers do?

Even the youngest student will have an idea of what a reader does. Make a list and post it somewhere in the room where students can refer to it as they strive to become readers themselves. Discuss the students’ answers as they share their ideas.



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Next ask, “What do readers read?” Make a chart or discuss this so students begin to understand that reading is all around them. 

With all types of teaching, modeling is crucial to the success of each student and the sanity of every teacher. Merely explaining what you expect isn’t always enough, especially when teaching young children. Modeling and practicing behaviors that take place in reading workshop and the classroom are very important to the success of each reader. Modeling sets the ground work for the expectations of the year. It not only tells students what is acceptable and what is not, but more importantly, show them. A few ideas that will most likely come up during reading workshop are: when it is appropriate to sharpen a pencil, what an acceptable noise level sounds like, and most definitely what to do if you need help or finish reading a book. It is important to the classroom community and the understanding of each student to involve the entire class in the establishment of guidelines. By presenting students with a problem that occurred during the reading workshop time children have an opportunity to make suggestions about how to fix it. The process of encountering a difficulty and the problem solving that follows gives students ownership and helps each child become a more independent problem solver. Releasing a little responsibility here will give way to less frustration later in the year.