Monday, September 2, 2013

Launching the Reading Workshop

Reading Workshop will be a core part of our daily routine in first grade. After all, a major goal of the first grade curriculum is to help every student become a capable and confident reader. Part of generating student motivation for reading is helping them understand the purpose of it. Why do readers read? What purposes do we have for reading? Do they know why people in their families read? Why would they want to read? As adults, we know that reading happens all the time, in countless moments throughout the day. First graders often need to be guided to see this--to understand just how critical (and amazing!) it is to be a reader. We all need "cognitive clarity"--an understanding of why what we're doing is important--to make our learning meaningful to us. They will hear me repeat the phrase, "I'm teaching you this because..." over and over throughout first grade. Setting a purpose for our learning is critical.

Our reading mini-lesson on Friday focused on the question, "Why do people read?" Students had many ideas, some of which are listed on the photo of our whiteboard screen below. We then moved on to the questions, "What do YOU like to read? Why do you like reading it?" By the end of the lesson, many students were demonstrating an understanding that reading can be enjoyable and that we often pick books to read based on an interest of ours or just for entertainment. Over time, students will have the chance to explore many genres and types of text. For now, I was happy to see students smiling while enjoying books, talking to each other about what they found, and being eager to share a book that they found in the classroom that interested them in some way. Our Reading Workshop is off to a great start!

These were some of the ideas students shared in response to the question, "Why do people read?"
I encourage students to talk about books--talking about what we read will be a regular part of our Reading Workshop, as it helps to deepen understanding (comprehension) of what we read. 
I learned that bugs and snakes are popular topics for nonfiction books in our classroom!
Eager readers!
Mo Willems is definitely a favorite author in this class!
We can read to learn about things that interest us...
Focused readers! 
A happy reader!
Look at that intense focus!

Everyone came to the "Sharing Circle" to share a book that they enjoyed reading that day. Students told the class why they liked the book. Sharing Circle will be a daily part of our Reading Workshop. Not every student will share every day, since that would be a quite a long process and a little too much sitting time! :-) 
Readers hard at work. For now, students are working at tables. Soon, they will choose their own books for their book bags and will also choose "good fit reading spots."

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