Reading Workshop

They say there’s “nothing new under the sun,” and when it comes to students and their teachers choosing reading material and others sometimes objecting to those choices, the adage certainly applies. In fact, NCTE was founded in 1911 in protest against the college list of “standard authors” that high schools found it necessary to teach, an effort to give their students a fair chance on the entrance exams required to enter Harvard and other prestigious colleges. By the 1950s, the Council actively began fighting censorship, spurred on by McCarthyism. And in 1962, NCTE published its seminal intellectual freedom guideline, The Students’ Right to Read:

The right to read, like all rights guaranteed or implied within our constitutional tradition, can be used wisely or foolishly. In many ways, education is an effort to improve the quality of choices open to all students. But to deny the freedom of choice in fear that it may be unwisely used is to destroy the freedom itself. For this reason, we respect the right of individuals to be selective in their own reading. But for the same reason, we oppose efforts of individuals or groups to limit the freedom of choice of others or to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.

The right of any individual not just to read but to read whatever he or she wants to read is basic to a democratic society. This right is based on an assumption that the educated possess judgment and understanding and can be trusted with the determination of their own actions.

Davis, Millie. "The Right to Read." Literacy NCTE. National Council of Teachers of English, 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.

Reading Workshop will happen two times a week.
  • Students will choose a book that interests them and have time to read independently.
  • They will participate in Mini Lessons around Author's Craft in Reading.
    • Character
    • Conflict
    • Climax
    • Setting
    • Plot
    • Etc.
  • They will be asked to complete "Letters to the Reader" where they describe the books they are reading/likes and dislikes/and questions for Mrs. Nicol or other students.
  • At times, students will participate in Literature Circles and read the same book as a group of other students.
    • Here, they will discuss themes, craft, figurative language, etc.

Rules For Reading Workshop

1. You must read a book.  Magazines, newspapers, and comic books don’t have the chunks of text you need to develops fluency, and they won’t help you discover who you are as a reader of literature.

2. Don’t read a book you don’t like.  Don’t waste time with a book you don’t love when there are so many great ones out there waiting for you.

3. If you don’t like your book, find another one.  Browse, ask me or a friend for a recommendation, or check the “Favorite Books” list or display.

4. It’s all right to reread a book you love.  This is what readers do.  

5. It’s okay to skim or skip parts if you get bored or stuck; readers do this, too.

6. Record every book you finish or abandon on the form in your Reader’s Notebook.  Collect data about yourself as a reader, look for patterns, and take satisfaction in your accomplishments over time.

7. Understand that reading is thinking.  Do nothing to distract me or other readers.  Don’t put your words into our brains as we’re trying to escape into the worlds created by the authors of our books.

8. When you confer with me, use as soft a voice as I use when I talk to you: whisper!

9. Read (and write in your reading notebook) the whole time.

10. Read as well and as much as you can.