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The purpose of this page is to provide ideas, models, and instructional strategies for Reader's Workshop.  

Reader's Workshop is an instructional model for reading that marries explicit instruction in reading strategies with opportunities for students to practice each reading strategy independently, with a peer, and in small groups.



Reader's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reader's Workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reader's Workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

There are seven important strategies that all readers must be able to apply to text in order to read and understand content. The seven strategies are: 

  1. Making Connections  

  2. Creating Mental Images  

  3. Making Inferences/Drawing Conclusions

  4. Asking Questions  

  5. Determining What Is Important

  6. Synthesizing

  7. Monitoring Comprehension and Meaning  



The Reader's Workshop model used in my classroom was developed after reading Debbie Miller's Reading with Meaning and Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis' book Strategies that Work. In addition Debbie Diller has been instrumental in the development of Literacy Centers that support the Reader's Workshop model. My favorite website for Reader's Workshop is by Jennifer Myers who has provided video links for the Reader's Workshop in her second grade classroom. They are simply wonderful and definitely worth your time! 

In the beginning Reader's Workshop should stress routines and rituals. It is very important that students understand what is expected of them and that they will be required to use reading strategies and be able to explain their thinking. During the first 5-6 weeks of school, the teacher spends a great deal of time modeling routines and rituals. Growing Readers is an excellent book for establishing routines and rituals during Reader's Workshop.




 10-15 minutes  Teacher Read Aloud &
 Mini Lesson
 20 minutes  Guided Reading &
 Independent Reading 
 10 minutes  Closing Meeting

Teacher Read Aloud: The teacher selects a book, poem, or text and reads it aloud to the class in a whole group setting. During this time the teacher models for students best practices in reading. This is a time where students are actively listening and taking note of the strategies the teacher uses while he/she reads.

Guided Reading: The teacher works with a small group of students who need the same instruction. Each student has their own text and the teacher works with the group to target a specific reading strategy or skill.

Independent Reading: During guided reading the remaining students in the class are reading text on their own. This is a time for students to apply the strategies learned in whole group and small group lessons. Students select text based on their reading level and use sticky notes to tag their reflections. At the end of independent reading, the teacher will meet with 3-4 students to discuss their reflections. Conferring with students is a powerful tool for finding out what students are thinking as well as the strategies they are employing.


  • When conferring with students it is important to keep a record of student responses. After meeting with the student, it is very important to student growth that you provide encouragement and give praise. Look for something they did really well and celebrate it. Then give them a "teaching point". This is something you would like them to work on and apply to their reading.
  • I use a conferring template. This way I have a permanent record of student conferences. Simply insert student names into each square in the template.

    Conferring Template (MS Word File)

    I attended a conference in Birmingham and one of the presenters used a file folder and sticky note system.

Closing Meeting: The closing meeting is a time when the class comes back together and students share the strategies they used during independent reading or reflections/understandings gained about new strategies. 




  • How to come to the carpet

  • Using the classroom library

  • Selecting a "just-right" book

  • Being an attentive listener

  • Using sticky note codes

  • Beautiful Behavior in
    Reader's Workshop


  • Procedures for sharing

  • Taking care of books

  • What to do during a Mini-Lesson

  • How to use a Reflection Journal

  • Procedures for Guided Reading

  • Procedures for Independent Reading






 Comprehension Skills with Icons

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 Comprehension Skills with Icons

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 Poem: A Book Speaks

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 Poem: Independent Strategies

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 Poster: Balanced Reading Diet

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 Poster: Goldilocks Rules for Books

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 Poster: Reading Hats

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 Poster: Reading Strategies

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 Poster: Shopping for Books

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 Sticky Note Codes

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 Student Reading Log

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Read, Write, Think Flip Book




Recommended Resources


Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller

This book is FANTASTIC! I always reread it before the beginning of each school year.  I must have in implementing Reader's Workshop. Debbie uses narrative text to take you through her own classroom. She provides examples of student work and provides a recommended book list.  Although her classroom is a first grade classroom, her ideas can definitely be  adjusted to fit a second or third grade classroom.


Strategies That Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis

This book provides example mini-lessons for each of the seven reading strategies and provides student work samples. It is a wonderful resource!


Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Oliver Keene & Susan Zimmermann

This book takes a close look at the reading strategies and how they affect comprehension.



Growing Readers by Kathy Collins

I have this book on order and since I haven't read it, I won't give a review. It is highly recommended by several teachers on the ProTeacher Chat Room.



Comprehension Connections by 
Tanny McGregor

This short, narrative book takes you through Reader's Workshop in a primary classroom. Tanny provides explanations and examples for making comprehension connections with six of the reading strategies (schema, inferring, questioning, visualizing, determining importance, and synthesizing).


Constructing Meaning by Nancy Boyles

This book provides a kid friendly approach to constructing meaning.  The book comes with a CD that contains reading posters for each strategy (B&W) and graphic organizers to assist students in organizing their thinking.


 Reading With Meaning and Comprehension Connections are my personal favorites. I fell in love with the narrative text. As a second grade teacher I was able to use the information from both texts to create a Reader's Workshop that worked for my second grade students.

Each of the books mentioned above can be purchased at your local discount bookstore or ordered online through Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com.


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