Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop

Reader’s Workshop

Before a child can have an interest in reading, he must first have an awareness of it.  The child who is unaware of the riches of literature certainly can have no desires for them.
                    ~ Jim Trelease 
True comprehension goes beyond literal understanding and involves the reader’s interaction with the text.  If students are to become thoughtful, insightful readers, they must merge their thinking with the text and extend their thinking beyond a superficial understanding.
~Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvas

Reading Workshop In Fourth Grade

Why we use Reader’s Workshop
Reader’s Workshop gives students the opportunity to take ownership over their reading lives.   Readers will have time to read just-right books independently every day.  Readers will select their own appropriate books.  They will have daily opportunities to talk about books in genuine ways.  Our Reader’s Workshop is based off of The Teacher’s College Curriculum out of New York.  Units of Study for Teaching Reading 3-5, by Lucy Calkins.

Format of Reader’s Workshop

Time Component
10-15 Minutes Connection and Mini-lesson
30-40 Minutes Independent Reading and Conferring
5 Minutes Sharing

Mini Lesson-Each Reading Workshop session will begin with a mini lesson that lasts approximately 10-15 minutes. During each mini lesson, I will introduce a specific concept, also known as the teaching point.  I will also demonstrate and have the students practice the concept or strategy by themselves or with a partner.  This always revolves around a Mentor Author’s work.

Independent Reading Time– During this time students will take time to read out of their book boxes.  Here students keep a journal and respond to the literature in terms of what they think or how they feel about what they are reading.  They will use this time to apply the concept or strategy taught during the mini lesson.  This time will last 30-40 minutes.  During this time I will also be conferencing with students individually and in small groups to give extra support and check in on their reading lives.

Sharing– This is a time when we regroup and discuss what we did during our independent reading time.  This is very important and some of the benefits from doing this are…

anchor chart for Reader's Workshop

Anchor Chart for Reader’s Workshop

–  A way to assess what students have and have not learned
–  Students learn to listen, think and talk about their learning.
–   Students stay on task during independent reading time because they know that they will have to discuss their work at the end of Reader’s Workshop.

Units We Will Cover This Year
Building A Reading Life (Launching Unit)
Following Characters Into Meaning (Character Study)
Nonfiction (Expository and Biography)
Historical Fiction

The Writing Workshop, similar to the Reading Workshop, is a method of teaching using a workshop method.  Students are given opportunities to write in a variety of genres and helps foster a love of writing.  The Writing Workshop allows me to meet the needs of the students by differentiating their instruction and gearing it based on the information I can gather from individual conferences.

Through Writer’s Workshop students will practice writing daily.  Students will develop short stories, narratives, essays, and poetry.  The writing process will be emphasized including prewriting, drafting, editing, revision, and publishing.

Typical Workshop

Time Component
10-15 Minutes Connection and Mini-lesson
30-40 Minutes Independent Writing and Conferring
5 Minutes Sharing

 Workshop Book List

Here are the books we will be using this year for Reading and Writing Units of Study.

The First Days of School

Narrative Writing

  • A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson
  • Tiger Rising  by Kate Dicamillo

Personal Essay

  • DEAL WITH IT!  Powerful Words from Smart, Young Women by The Extended Day Girls, Stacey Shubitz, and Christina L. Rodriguez

Literary Essay

  • The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
  • “Slower Than The Rest” by Cynthia Rylant
  • “My Side of the Story” by Adam Bagdasarian
  • Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed
  • The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting
  • A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Willaims
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  • The Meanest Thing to Say (Little Bill Series) by Bill CosbyCover of

Character Study

  • Baby by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Individualism & Collectivism

  • Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • This School is NOT White by Doreen Rappaport


  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Shutting Out the Sky by Deborah Hopkinson
  • The Memory Coat by Elvira Woodruf
  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say


  • The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
  • “Eleven” from Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Summer My Father Turned Ten by Pat Brisson
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Historical Fiction Book Club Books

  • The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting
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