It is reading workshop. The teacher reads aloud from a book and teaches a mini lesson about questioning as a comprehension monitoring strategy. After the lesson, the children head back to their seats. The teacher draws their attention to a chart that instructs them how they will use their time during the rest of the workshop. Quietly, children begin to move about the room. Some put on headphones and begin to listen to a story on tape. Others report to the classroom library to select new books. Some stay in their seats to read quietly from their independent selections while others write in their response journal. A small group reports to the computers and begins to work on an interactive program that has been selected for them. For nearly sixty minutes these children move from reading activity to reading activity without instruction or intervention from the teacher. For sixty full minutes, these children are engaged in reading and activities that support their growth as readers. It is quiet and productive.
I have heard teachers insist that such a scene is just a dream. Something that they merely WISH could happen in their classrooms. However, what I have just described is a REAL reading workshop in a SECOND grade classroom. Thank you, Patti, for inviting me into your classroom and reminding me of what really can happen when a reading workshop is nurtured and tended to with the “I think I can” and “I know I will” attitude. Wow.