Our contributors lead reading workshops in classrooms with creative flair. Over the past 12 years, we've filled our site with loads of suggestions, tools, and tips for using engaging books throughout the curriculum to hook kids on reading. Here is where you will find many stories of successful and not-so-successful workshop days, and what we learned from them. We bring these stories to life through hundreds of video examples.
In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read aloud The Girl Who Drank the Moon. In this installment, Ben creates a graph in his notebook to record characters and intentions that are emerging in the story.
In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read aloud, The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Students have their choice of using notebooks or tech devices, and can pick any strategy that helps them make sense of the story. In this installment, Hannah shares her notebook where she highlights the setting and characters, as well as makes predictions.
Just reading. Pure, unadulterated reading. That’s the reading homework that matters most in the long run. Stephanie Affinito explains why.
Gretchen Schroeder has developed a fun version of Reading Bingo to help students explore their identity as readers. The activity includes clever social media inspired options like creating memes and “bookstagram” posts.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills are discouraged by the random and idiosyncratic responses to reading they are seeing among first graders. They implement a series of lessons to help students move to evidence-based reading responses.
Matt Renwick is surprised when his son completes a reading quiz that isn’t required, and finally realizes it’s all about reading response.
If you want stronger poetry from students, a good starting point might be to explore how to write a powerful simile. Gretchen Schroeder explains how she helps her high school students play with and create better similes.
Gigi McAllister leads a group of boys who are just starting the novel in verse The Crossover in her fourth-grade classroom.
Christy Ruth-Levine leads a small group of eighth graders as they explore how to include textual evidence in their literary analysis essays.
Suzy Kaback finds the task of creating readers’ guides helps students in the intermediate grades think about evidence in texts in more sophisticated ways.
Gretchen Schroeder finds just telling her high school class to include textual evidence when making points and arming them with sticky notes leaves many students bewildered. She regroups and comes up with activities to scaffold their understanding of what makes for valid evidence.
Gretchen Schroeder’s high school students are surprised to see a deck of cards on their supply list. The cards are a tool for teaching the vocabulary of tone in creative ways.
Gretchen Schroeder reflects on why some of her students have developed a fear of reading by the time they reach high school.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Olivia about the principle of cause and effect in the novel she is reading.
Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Ava by having her share what she learned from a picture walk through a simple text, and then she helps her use pictures to decode text while reading.
Christy Rush-Levine emphasizes “reflaction” in her reading conference protocol — reflection that leads to action for her students.
Lucas leads a minilesson in Franki Sibberson’s fifth-grade class on connecting facts from different sources.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Omar, who is reading The Rock and the River. The book is a fictional account of a tumultuous time in civil rights history, considering protests through a child’s eyes.
Mark Levine finds Russell Freedman book clubs are a great way for his middle school students to deepen understanding of history and empathize with young people who lived through previous eras.
The choice between whole-class novels or independent reading can be a false one in many middle school classrooms. Katie Doherty’s sixth graders discuss their reading together of a novel in verse, and Katie explains how some shared whole-class texts can support independent reading.
A heavy sigh from a student is a cue to Shari Frost that he has heard the same Martin Luther King picture book biography one too many times in February. She shares her top picture book picks for expanding children’s awareness of black history all year long.
Franki Sibberson finds teaching students to annotate while reading is one of the best ways to promote ongoing reflective response in her fifth-grade classroom. She shares how she starts teaching annotation skills early in the year.
“I read 35 pages!” An elated student deflates Bitsy Parks in her first-grade classroom. By mid-fall she is alarmed at the responses of students to their reading in the whole-group share—they are all about quantity, with no thinking or reflection. She uses modeling and careful questioning to foster more thoughtful reader response.
Christy Rush-Levine integrates reading responses into her preparation for reading conferences, and then uses the responses as a tool to build goals and insights within the conference.
Christy Ruth-Levine confers with Edith, who is tracking character changes in the novel Room.
Matt Renwick encourages you to ask a few critical questions before you adopt the 40-Book Challenge or any other activity with a number for a goal you’re going to be tied to all year long in your classroom.
“How do you know what level they have selected?” a visitor asks Bitsy Parks as she observes during a first-grade independent reading period. “I don’t,” Bitsy responds, and explains why it is a beautiful thing.
Shari Frost helps a teacher who has guided reading groups that have run amok, and discovers that the real culprit is a lack of time for reading and writing in the literacy block.
Bitsy Parks uses reading share time early in the year to describe and summarize the work in two conferences to help students learn how conferring, independent reading time, and strategy practice work. One of the books used in a conference is from a recent read aloud.
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