Managing classroom libraries requires a delicate balance between organization, choice, behavior, and matching children with appropriate texts. Classroom libraries can be organized in many ways– by genre, series, or some other category. Susan Taberski (2000) suggests having bins of unleveled books from which students choose their independent reading selections and bins of books by level for when they need practice with something "just right." Other teachers label their books using the Fountas and Pinnell A through Z gradient.
Because an "assessed" reading level doesn't always correspond with a student's level of comprehension, it is important that students spend time with more than just independent-level texts. To do this, it is necessary to spend time working with students on independent text selection that supports decoding development, fosters comprehension and thinking, and pique students' interests in reading.
If you are a K-2 teacher, have you ever asked: “During reading workshop, what kinds of meaningful work can students be doing independently, while I confer one-on-one or with small groups?” Lindsey Moses hears this common frustration among those who work with our youngest readers in her work with teachers around the country. That’s why Lindsey, along with First grade teacher Meridith Ogden, wrote: What are the Rest of My Kids Doing? Their goal is to help you move beyond assigning busy work to providing purposeful learning experiences that build independence over the year and ideally take the anxiety out of reading workshop.
In Lindsey Moses and Meridith Ogden’s new book “What are the Rest of my Kids Doing?” Fostering Independence in the K-2 Reading Workshop, the authors introduce a set of five research-based principles centered around successful components of early literacy instruction. In addition to the formalized research literature, each principle is one that has been found to be useful for primary teachers when fostering independence with purposeful learning experiences. In their book, Moses and Ogden offer teaching moves based on these specific research-based principles.
“I think that many teachers have been subjected to intensive efforts to remake their small-group instruction so that it is 'just so.' There have been so many books written on how to lead small groups in precisely the right ways that too many teachers approach a little hub of readers, gripped by anxiety over doing this The Right Way. Meanwhile, the whole point is to be personal, be responsive, and to channel kids to do some work while you observe and coach.”
– Lucy Calkins, in A Guide to the Reading Workshop
Studying and Thinking about Powerful Whole Group Instruction: Minilessons, Shared Reading, & Read Aloud K-3
See below for a full transcript of the chat
Written by Anna Gratz Cockerille
One power of reading workshop is the way in which instruction can move seamlessly from whole-group, to small-group, to individual and back again in the span of a class period. Certainly, a reading teacher’s best chance of really moving kids further in their understanding is while working with small groups and individuals, where instruction can be differentiated to meet the needs of the each student. It is not as possible to meet every student’s needs during whole-group instruction. Inevitably, there will be students who are beyond or not quite at the level of whole-group lessons. But these lessons serve a very important purpose, nonetheless. They serve to rally students’ energy around a single, worthy cause. They serve to create classroom community-wide goals for reading and common language to talk about these goals. They serve to get students jazzed up about a new line of thinking, or a new trajectory in their path of work.
"[As a new teacher], I needed theoretically sound, research-based, instructional ideas to support the students in my classroom. …[and] I needed support for the logistics: getting my classroom workshop ready; ideas for units of student and learning experiences; suggestions for whole-group, small group, individualized instruction and conferring; and ways to use assessment to drive my instruction. However, I needed these logistics to include the necessary linguistic considerations to support my English learners.” —Lindsey Moses
Lindsey Moses, author of Supporting English Learners in the Reading Workshop (2015), works with classroom teachers across the country supporting the implementation of effective literacy instruction in diverse settings. Her experience and research reveal extensive knowledge, ideas and examples to guide teachers with facilitating a workshop setting that is just as effective for English learners as native speakers.
Enjoy this clip from her most recent webinar series for a glimpse into this Online Professional Development opportunity.