Reader's Workshop is a framework for reading instruction that provides students with a supportive environment and involves them in authentic reading experiences that focus on the strengths and needs of each individual student.

The basic philosophy behind the Reading Workshop is to allow students to spend an extended amount of time reading authentic texts that interest them on a daily basis and to provide opportunities to talk about literature. The ultimate goal of a Reading Workshop is always to develop life-long passionate readers.

Features of Readers Workshop
  • Time to choose books, read, think about their reading, and interact with others over what they have read
  • Choice about books they read, their purpose for reading a particular book, and the strategies they use to help them comprehend
  • A sense of responsibility for their learning and their interactions with the teacher and fellow students - by setting goals, tracking progress and assessing their success
  • A classroom structure that allows them opportunities to work with the teacher, each other, and independently
  • A supportive community that fosters diversity and the development of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Readers' Workshop should be rigorous and challenging, with clear expectations for students’ accomplishment

Readers Workshop empowers students to:
  • view reading as a meaning-making process, as opposed to one about words and word parts
  • identify and talk about many beloved titles, authors, and genres
  • independently choose books of interest at their reading level
  • self-monitor for understanding and use fix-up strategies when necessary
  • engage in meaningful reading for a sustained period of time
  • discuss and think about books with others

Principles of Readers Workshop
  • Planning should be a balance of knowing the standards/targets, as well as thinking about the most authentic activities for children, what you know about individual students, and patterns of need across the classroom.
  • When you are planning, always ask yourself "Is this an authentic task that represents real reading and writing?"
  • Never assign an activity just to fill time. Teach children to use the time in authentic ways that will help them as readers.
  • Teach them to be independent thinkers and active reading workshop participants.
  • Depend on honest conversation with students about their reading lives
  • Challenged readers should have access to the same level of learning experiences as other children and, in fact, should have a variety of rich experiences to move them forward.
  • Have a reason for everything you do in the workshop and make sure that the reason focuses on authentic learning

Creating a Climate of Rigour, Inquiry and Intimacy

Students will:

  • Understand and engage in the processes, procedures and rituals of the learning community; are taught to respond and react with civility and respect
  • Select books, topics, authors appropriately for level, challenge, interest
  • Engage deeply in book discussions; share recommendations and insights with other readers, seek to understand the insights of others
  • Understand and use options for oral, artistic, dramatic, and written responses to literature
  • Use oral language precisely to describe their thinking during reading– use that language to apply strategies independently

Teachers will:
  • Create a culture of rigour, inquiry and intimacy by continually expecting more, probing ideas further and pressing children to explore their intellect
  • Create a culture conducive to in-depth study of books, genres, topics, authors, and comprehension strategies
  • Serve as the lead learner by modeling what it is to live a literate life and share insights from those literary experiences
  • Provide equal access to all to the materials and expertise needed by readers
  • Model what readers who comprehend think about and how they create a literate life