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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Tara Smith covers all the basics of how to get organized in middle school for the first days of literacy workshops.
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.
Franki Sibberson explains how she watches students closely and adjusts her library based on what she sees all year long.
Katherine Sokolowski builds interest in a new book in the classroom library through a book talk on Wish Girl.
Christy Rush-Levine writes about the push and pull of wanting to put books into students’ hands, and needing at the same time to give them room to explore the classroom library.
Gretchen Schroeder finds new routines in her high school workshop means letting go of old expectations.
Katrina Edwards demonstrates a read and think check-in from her first-grade classroom.
It’s not an invitation if students are required to accept it. Franki Sibberson explains how engagement depends upon true choice and lots of options in her fifth-grade classroom.
From length to heart, Tara Smith provides seven criteria for selecting the first read aloud of the year that can engage students right from the start.
Fifth grader Orion uses sticky notes to make questions and predictions at the end of each chapter.
Reagan, a fifth grader in Franki Sibberson's class, explains how she uses sticky notes to flag examples of writer's craft she could use in her own writing.
We continue our video series from Franki Sibberson's class of fifth graders explaining how they take notes while reading. Sarah marks important elements early in the mystery she is reading, so she can easily refer to them later.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Jadev about how the title of a book often gives clues to its theme.
Christy Rush-Levine moves from emphasizing theme to teaching strategies for understanding text, and finds it’s a much better way to get her eighth graders to grapple with theme in natural, organic ways.
Tara Smith shares many strategies for helping her sixth graders get to the heart of understanding themes in literature.
Comic books and graphic novels are genres tweens adore, but teachers sometimes struggle to embrace. Ruth Shagoury creates a booklist with engaging books in the genre any teacher would enjoy.
Tre uses lots of sticky notes to sort through and keep track of characters in a book with a whole classroom full of personalities.
What do student notes from independent reading look like when students have free choice? In this video series, fifth graders from Franki Sibberson's class explain their notetaking strategies. We start with Ally, who tries out two different strategies to figure out which one will help her the most.
In this week's video, Aimee Buckner has a quick conference with a fourth grader about ways to solve a dilemma — how to figure out the setting in a historical fiction novel when there are no pictures.
Tara Smith finds her sixth graders love historical fiction, but they often lack the background knowledge to understand texts fully. She launches her historical fiction unit with a careful mix of discussion, anchor charts, and shared texts.
Get full access to all Choice Literacy article content
Get full access to all Choice Literacy video content
Receive member-only discounts on books, DVDs and more