Reading Workshop


*Part of our shared reading is The Making Meaning program. Reading aloud to students provides opportunities to model and practice comprehension strategies, build background knowledge, and develop understanding of the patterns and structures of written language while teaching community building skills and encouraging interaction with peers.

Walled Lake Schools uses the Making Meaning program for shared reading. In Making Meaning children use picture books to learn about specific reading comprehension strategies such as: visualizing, wondering/questioning, making inferences, using schema/making connections, retelling, summarizing, understanding text structure, determining important ideas, and synthesizing. During independent reading time (read to self), the third graders will be practicing these comprehension strategies.


CAFÉ is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary, and the system includes goal-setting with students in individual conferences, posting of goals on a whole-class board, developing small group instruction based on clusters of students with similar goals, and targeting whole-class instruction based on emerging student needs and fine tuning one on one conferring.

The CAFE board has begun to fill up with comprehension strategies! Last week we focused on ASKING QUESTIONS. We will be reviewing VISUALIZATION this week by reading some very descriptive pieces of writing that helps to create vivid mental images. We've added how to RE-READ in order to help us understand a piece of text or book. This week we will add INFERENCING to our Cafe board!


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The Reading Workshop session will begin with a mini lesson that lasts approximately 10-15 minutes. During each mini lesson, the teacher will introduce a specific concept, also known as the teaching point. Most often the teaching point will focus on a reading strategy or skill. The teacher will explicitly model or demonstrate the skill for the students. Students then get a chance to practice the skill or strategy on their own or with a partner. This part of the mini-lesson is called the active engagement.

Independent Reading-During this time students are engaged in self-selected texts at their independent level for about 40 minutes. They use this time to practice the skill that was taught during the mini-lesson. Students are reading around the room while the teacher holds individual reading conferences or meets with small groups of students for guided reading, strategy lessons, or guided reading groups.

During guided reading, students read as the teacher guides them through the story. I pause to ask questions and prompt readers to use multiple reading strategies to decode words and comprehend the text. Great discussions arise from our guided reading sessions as students learn to make connections to the text, predict what will happen and ask questions as they read, visualize events happening in the story, make inferences, and respond to stories in their reader's notebooks. It is also a time for the teacher to observe whether or not students are using the reading strategies taught during shared reading and teacher read-alouds.

Sharing - At the end of each reading workshop we gather together to share things we've learned while reading, share examples of the skill we're working on, or simply tell about something awesome we read during our independent reading time. It's a nice way to wrap up workshop.

How To Choose A “Just Right Book”

BRAINWORK-Before going to the classroom library, I think about…

A topic I’m interested in

A familiar author

A series I’d like to read

I’d like to try something new!

PREVIEW: Using parts of the book to help me learn more about it

Look at the cover.

Read the title and the author.

Read the summary or the “blurb” on the back.

Flip through the book and look at the illustrations.

TRY IT: Check to see if it is easy, just right, or challenging

Turn to a page in the book or chapter and read

Use the 5 finger rule

Close the book and retell the part you read

DECIDE: Is this book “just right?”

Did I read it at a conversational speed?

Did it sound smooth?

Were there a few (0-3) hard words

Did I understand the story?

The students choose books at their “just right” reading level. I check the status of the class to make sure the books they choose are appropriate and to see if they are reading books all the way through. The I-PICK rules help the children to choose appropriate books at their own independent level:

As a class, we have NORMS we expect to happen each time we go to the carpet area for class meetings.

  • Sit quietly and on your bottom
  • Keep your hands in your lap
  • Listen
  • Leave a walkway for people
  • Raise your hand; no blurting out
Thanks to our wonderful PTA, we will soon have the Time For Kids (TFK) magazine for the classroom. Each student will receive his/her own copy. We will be learning how to find out information and work on comprehension questions by locating answers within non-fiction pieces of texts. Look at the Time For Kids link on this page to learn more!

1 comment:

  1. The TFK mini magazines are very cool. My child likes them. Hopefully this will make them want to read a newspaper or magazine as they grow older. The topics are interesting and on target for their age level.