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Reading Workshop Rationale

The rationale for Reading Workshop (RW) is that students will become more proficient readers by reading copious amounts of texts (literature and informational) of their choosing. Students are more apt to read, to understand, and to enjoy reading if they have the teacher/parent-guided freedom to choose books that are of high interest to them. The premise behind Reading Workshop is that by reading more with teacher modeling and instruction, students will be exposed to a wider variety of genres of literature and other texts and will increase their breadth and depth of knowledge about literature, texts, and reading overall. Students are empowered because they are able to read high interest books at their individual paces and are able to take ownership for their learning.

Reading Workshop naturally differentiates instruction for middle/high school students who have a variety of interests and large differences in reading skills. The choice that Reading Workshop allows motivates students to read and engage with text in a positive way, therefore increasing engagement, skills, and academic self-esteem. The workshop format also creates a rigorous literary experience for students with regard to text difficulty as well as reading volume, thus creating more proficient readers.

Direct teacher instruction for reading skills occurs in the classroom with shorter pieces of literature such as excerpts of short stories, critical essays, poetry, and interdisciplinary non-fiction articles. The theory is that once students are able to become proficient at reading skills on shorter pieces with teacher instruction and modeling, they are able to transfer their skills into longer pieces of literature/texts and across the content areas. The teacher’s role in the workshop is to bridge classroom lessons to Reading Workshop novels by offering direct instruction of mini-lessons, modeling good reading habits, communicating with students via journals and conferences, and facilitating book discussions among students to create a community of readers.

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