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Inquiry Illuminated

Researcher's Workshop Across the Curriculum

Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis provide a structure for inquiry that's predictable, proven, and—most importantly—authentic. With their help you'll:

  • create irresistible investigations in science, history and social studies, or language arts
  • increase students’ independence and agency by gradually releasing responsibility for inquiry
  • effectively integrate literacy and content through strategies for comprehension and critical thinking.

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Full Description

To immerse students in the richness and intrigue of the content areas, let the kids lead the way!

In Inquiry Illuminated, Anne Goudvis, Stephanie Harvey, and classroom teacher Brad Buhrow shine a light on researcher’s workshop—an approach whose true north emerges from kids’ curiosity. Adapting structures you already know from reader’s and writer’s workshop, they share a predictable, proven, and—most importantly—authentic approach that:

  • creates irresistible investigations in science, history and social studies, or language arts
  • increases students’ independence and agency by gradually releasing responsibility for inquiry
  • effectively integrates literacy and content through strategies for comprehension and critical thinking.

With copious full-color photographs and classroom video, Inquiry Illuminated shows how to create a culture where thoughtfulness, creativity, and collaboration can turn wonder into powerful inquiry. Then, with researcher’s workshop, you’ll uncover a process that transforms curiosity into opportunities to ask questions and follow a path to new understandings. Throughout you’ll discover how to bring in what you already do in reader’s and writer’s workshop to support students’ investigations as they read, write, create, and take action.

Wonder without inquiry is like a mere spark in the darkness. Read Inquiry Illuminated and find out how to light up the possibilities for your learners.

"This book is a great resource for an educator or district looking to expand their work inside the Workshop model, or even enhance their social studies and science curriculum.... It would be a good investment for teachers and administrators looking to innovate in their schools."
—Andrea Doyon, Middleweb
Read the entire review

Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)


1. Creating a Culture for Inquiry
To build a culture for inquiry in our classrooms, six cornerstones foster spirited, thoughtful learning: curiosity, workshop, content, comprehension, collaboration, and environment. These provide a strong foundation for inquiry at every grade level and across the curriculum.
2. Researcher’s Workshop
Enter Brad Buhrow’s classroom to see how the cornerstones come to life in researcher’s workshop. We introduce eleven core practices and lessons to teach the research process. We launch the inquiry process with whole-class research and gradually release kids to take more responsibility for the process. Finally kids take off on their own, confident as they use their repertoire of comprehension strategies and research tools to investigate their questions and interests.
3. Reading and Writing in Support of Inquiry
In this chapter, you’ll find more than twenty additional lessons and practices that are essential tools for readers, writers, and researchers. We often introduce these in reader’s and writer’s workshop, but students use them throughout the day and across the curriculum as they read, write, talk, listen, create, and investigate.
4. Inquiry Across the Grades
Peek into classrooms where researcher’s workshop is central to learning. Examples of inquiries in science, language arts, and social studies in grades one through four will spark your own ideas for inquiries with your curriculum. Inquiries featured here include investigating various cultures, learning to think like scientists, and exploring
different perspectives in history.
5. Inquiry Across the Curriculum
Weaving together literature, poetry, social studies, and history, intermediate teacher Karen Halverson describes how reading, writing, discussion, personal reflection, and creative expression come to life when kids tackle issues involving social justice and historical and cultural perspectives. With a firm foundation in the research process, inquiry is a way of life for these fifth graders.

In Depth

Inquiry with Researcher’s Workshop

In inquiry-based classrooms, researcher’s workshop happens each and every day. Just as with reader’s and writer’s workshops, researcher’s workshop is carefully structured and includes explicit instruction in research strategies and the inquiry process. In addition, researcher’s workshop

  • provides an authentic, practical context for reading, writing, drawing, talking, listening, and creating
  • fosters personal engagement and ownership for every kid
  • encourages kids to build knowledge as they use reading, writing, and thinking strategies in the service of learning.

During researcher’s workshop, we sometimes focus our inquiries on topics that are part of a district-mandated curriculum unit. At other times we might explore a common topic, driven by kids, that’s of particular local or current interest. The inquiries shared in this book are primarily curricular in nature but with plenty of room for kids to investigate on their own. When it comes to curricular inquiries, some may extend over several weeks. To make sure kids have enough time to explore their topics in depth, often teachers alternate science and social studies. They may spend two or three weeks on a science unit and the next few weeks on social studies. Others may integrate teaching science and social studies together. But either way, kids need plenty of time to read, write, and think about content to build knowledge and actively use it.

Flexible Inquiry Framework

The inquiry framework in this book demonstrates what teachers and students may do during each phase of the process. It’s important to note that the inquiry phases are recursive, not linear. We may spend a week on immersion and move into investigation, only to circle back to more immersion. For instance, kids ask questions during the immerse phase. During coalesce, they can’t resist taking their learning public. The purpose of this framework is merely to show the overall progression of kid-centered research. Once kids have internalized the routines and practices in the framework, they have their own blueprint for how to find things out. These are real-life, twenty-first-century strategies that kids will use for years to come. Just ask their parents.

As one second-grade parent commented when visiting his child’s classroom, “As a scientist, this is exactly what I do all day, every day. I ask some questions, do some reading to find out what I need to know, write it up, and then share it with colleagues. It’s just like what’s happening in this classroom.”


Related PD Services


Email if you would like to contact Anne Goudvis directly about professional development support.


Email if you would like to contact Stephanie Harvey directly about professional development support.

Email if you would like to contact Brad Buhrow directly about professional development support.