In third grade, we kick off Reader's Workshop right away! I wanted to share a few of the lessons I have taught my students, as they are essential for building a strong classroom community of readers.
One of our first lessons was about keeping track of our thoughts while we read, since, after all, we should be thinking during reading. We charted the many things we could jot down on sticky notes while reading. My students came up with a bunch of great ideas, which I recorded on large paper for future reference:
I modeled for them how I jot down my thoughts, while doing a read aloud, and then students had the opportunity to jot down and share their own thoughts relating to the book. During independent reading, students had a stack of mini-sticky notes to make tracks in their books, as well. Here is a postcard I gave out to remind students what they should be doing while reading:
During the first week of school, I sent home an "assignment" requesting that students bring their very favorite book to school. Since we will be doing a lot of reading this year in third grade, why not get started with books that have already inspired us and have a special place in our hearts? One lesson last week included how to partner read. It is important for both partners to be able to see the book and read along while sharing. This helps to engage the student who is not reading aloud. I teach them a little poem, called EEKK! (not my original idea) to help them remember how to sit.
In a future lesson, coming soon, we will discuss the importance of being a reading coach to our partner when we read together. Both partners are then accountable for the reading.
We also created a great chart in which we created a very long list of what good readers do. All of the behaviors on our list support reading. For example, good readers get started right away, read the whole time, keep track of their thoughts, stay focused, make good book choices, "real" read instead of "fake" read, and so much more. I was quite impressed with my students' responses!
During independent reading that day, we stopped about 15 minutes in to discuss how it was going. Was everyone in our class making good choices as readers? Without naming names, we talked about how sounds of beanbags, whispers of students reading near one another, or students' laughter (hey, the book was funny!) could be distractions for other students. We discussed how we could minimize those distractions in order to benefit best from independent reading. During the second half of our independent reading time, we noticed an improvement!
I am looking forward to a great year of Reader's Workshop with my third graders!