Reader's Workshop in Primary Grades

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Miss McClain, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Miss McClain

    Miss McClain New Member

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    Jul 26, 2009

    As a soon-to-be first-year teacher, I'm spending the last weeks of my summer planning what my days will be like teaching first grade. Since I believe that students need plenty of time to read independently, I favor a workshop approach. While I've had the opportunity to implement reader's workshop in upper-elementary grades, I'm stuck on a few aspects of it when it comes to working with first-graders. If a new or veteran teacher with this experience could offer some advice, I would be so grateful!

    Here is my problem:
    My topics for mini-lesson will relate to concepts being taught in my school's adopted basal reader for that week. I will make these concepts interesting, however, by modeling the reading strategy with great trade books. After this 10-minute instructional period, I want my students to read for about 20 minutes. At this time, I was planning on conferencing with individual/small groups of students and recording their progress as described in "The CAFE Book." While I'm conferencing, however, I want to know that the rest of my students are on task and practicing the reading strategy just taught. What can I expect my first-graders to do in order to show this to me? I feel like they seem a little young to be keeping reader's response journals? I want them to record their thoughts, responses, questions, etc. somehow to jog their memory during share time.

    Also, how do you have your primary students keep track of what they are reading during this independent reading time? It would be ideal for them to keep a log of this information, but would like it to be as simple as possible for them/me.

    Thanks for helping me out! :D
     
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  3. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Jul 26, 2009

    I think it's great that you want to do reader's workshop! I have done it for 2 years now and I think it works fabulously. As for keeping kids accountable, this is certainly a challenge in first grade. I don't have them do any writing (at least not in the beginning of the year) but instead just hope they are honest! I just remind them (repeatedly) that their job is to be trying whatever strategy I've taught them that day. I also find by sharing at the end of the workshop, it helps keep them accountable as well - that way they KNOW they're going to have to talk about what they did that day. I often do a mid-workshop interruption and say something like "Don't forget, readers! We're practicing _____ today! I can't wait to hear what you've done during our share!" This makes them excited to try the strategy while also slipping in a reminder to actually DO it!

    I'm interested to hear if other posters have other ideas for keeping first graders accountable.

    You're right that first graders are a bit too young for readers response journals - though you might be able to do some writing with them towards the second half of the year. As for keeping track of their reading, I personally don't have them do it (I do reading log for homework, but that's separate from RW). In sept, it could take a first grader 10 minutes juts to copy down a title of a book, so if you have them record their reading, they'd be using a good chunk of their reading time to do it! I do make a note of the book they're reading when I conference with them, so that way I can sort of keep track of the types of books they are reading. I wouldn't worry TOO much about recording their reading at this point. I think you'll find it's more trouble than it's worth.
     
  4. luv2teach1st

    luv2teach1st Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2009

    For a reading response in the beginning of the year, you could have them draw a picture of their favorite part of the story
     
  5. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jul 26, 2009

    At first, I don't start out with reading response journals. I teach them how to use post it notes to record their responses. We also use codes, like T-S for Text-Self Connections. When i taught first grade, we didn't start reading response journals until January. In second grade I started them, probably in October.

    They were just spiral notebooks, and they were required to write the date, the title, and their response. They also put the code for the strategy they used. In order to share during sharing, they needed have something in their reading response journal.

    Now, there was a group of students who had fabulous journals. The majority did okay, and there was a group who rarely wrote in their journals. Next year I really want to get a better system for holding them accountable. Of course there are going to be struggling students, but I want to make sure they are doing their own personal best.
     
  6. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jul 26, 2009

    I also don't have them keep a book log. But, when they write in their journals they record the title, and when I confer with them I also record the book title, the level if there is one, and I also look through their book basket with them and we discuss if they have enough "just right books", variety of genres, etc. This is when I catch some students with super hard chapter books and others with super easy picture books! I let them keep one of them, but they have to have at least 10 just right books.
     
  7. Miss McClain

    Miss McClain New Member

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    Jul 26, 2009

    All of your ideas are great! I think I'll start very simple and, as suggested, have them respond by drawing and writing a sentence or two. As the year progresses, then I might try some sort of response journal. I tend to agree with all of you that book logs seem a bit much for the beginning of the year. Since I'm planning on conferencing with my students using the CAFE format created by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, I can simply record the child's book choice on those forms. In reviewing these, I can see if a student needs to choose another genre next time, etc.

    Thank you so much for responding so quickly! I'm new to the site, but can see it being extremely useful as these questions come to me :)
     

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