Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Reader's Workshop in Room 208

     We are currently wrapping up our first reading unit in second grade, and boy, our reading muscles are getting stronger!!  I am absolutely thrilled to see SO MANY kids "lost in their book" during Reader's Workshop.  Absolutely heartwarming!  My primary focus throughout this first unit was to empower the children to "take charge" of their reading.
     In the first half of the unit, the children learned that strong readers make lots of decisions as they read; they decide how their reading will sound, how much they will read, and how to make sure their reading makes sense.  The kids have become especially savvy in giving a book a "sneak peek", as they study the cover, read the back blurb, look at the table of contents, and read a bit of the first page.  This kind of careful previewing has enabled the kids to predict what the character might want, what might get in the way, and how the problem might be solved...all before beginning to read the book!  I have especially enjoyed watching the kid's engagement as they work to determine how a book might want to be read.  They have learned that some books (or parts of books) want to be read in a sweet, calm voice, such as, "Once upon a time in a small village there lived a kind little mouse", while other books (or pages) are meant to be read in a loud, scary voice, such as, "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!"  We have had so much fun practicing this skill, that the kids recently suggested that we read our Morning Message in a newscaster voice, since the message brings us news about our day!
     In the second half of this unit, the kids learned that when second grade readers come to a tricky word, they don't say, "HELP!"  They roll up their sleeves and get to work!  It has been amazing to watch them become independent word solvers, absolutely determined to figure out words all by themselves!  The kids should be so very proud of themselves!
     I also embedded the importance of "checking your understanding" throughout this first unit, modeling frequently for the kids how to stop every few pages and do a quick retell across fingers. We also have begun to use these stops as a place to "push ourselves to have a thought" about what is happening in the book.  The kids used Post It notes to jot a few words to help them remember their idea to discuss later with a buddy.
     Below, you will find two anchor chart from our classroom bulletin board.  These highlight the teaching points throughout our first reading unit.  The children use these charts as a resource and I will refer to these skills frequently throughout the year.
    The kids will spend the next couple of weeks participating in shared reading activities and interactive read alouds during our Reader's Workshop minilessons.  Shared reading is a time for kids to work on stretching themselves in word solving skills, comprehension, and fluency.  Interactive read alouds give children opportunities to participate in discussions about a text.  Books chosen for such read alouds typically contain rich language, which allows for exposure to new vocabulary.

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