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Reader’s and Writer's Workshop is designed to help students develop skills and strategies that will be used in their future writing projects and in future reading ….and in their future.There is a gradual build of skills and strategies and then forced implementation. For the students, those skills and strategies eventually become instinctive, innate, and their own.

mini lesson
  • A Mini- Lesson is usually a 5-10 minute whole class activity and may be as simple as doing guided writing from a story, or how revision codes are used.
  • Useful mini-lessons for the Upper Grades are:
    • story mapping
    • having an adult guest writer, or yourself, model the process of revision
    • modeling note taking for gathering information
    • modeling the strategy on the overhead
    • reading from a touchstone text to model the strategy
  • In their writing, students are to integrate the mini-lesson skill.
  • Their writing should also have evidence of previous mini-lesson writing strategies.
status of the class
Status of the Class

The Status of the Class takes about 2-3 minutes and provides the student and teacher with information about how the student's work is progressing.

In the Upper Elementary grade classrooms it can be done quickest by having students write their name on the board under the appropriate category:

  • Conferencing
  • First Draft
  • Work in progress
  • Revision
  • Illustrating
  • Final Editing
  • Publishing
write and confer


A Mini- Lesson is usually a 5-10 minute whole class activity and may be as simple as doing guided writing from a story, or how revision codes are used. An example is to lay out a favorite story's events in beginning, middle, and end form, create an idea web featuring a book's plot, or formally present the use of ' mechanics' such as more complicated grammar parts and punctuation. Modeling good interviewing techniques is still appropriate because students will need to use them in

Write and Confer
  • Writing & Conferring is ideally a 20 - 40 minute session. Brainstorming sessions may still be the best way to come up with topics and ideas, and peer conferencing is still useful to the student.
  • Editing is not the focus of the teacher conference, expanding ideas and trying to find a 'voice' for the student writer is. Revisions can then take place.
  • The editing phase focuses on mechanics and any additional revisions to be made. In the Final Draft, teachers should expect correct use of basic grammar, spelling and punctuation with guidance.
  • For Peer Editing, TAG can be used.
    • Tell one thing you liked about the story
    • Ask one question
    • Give one suggestion.

(Upper Elementary students may want to share a 'Work in Progress' or 'Revision' to get many different opinions for inspiration.)

sharing author s chair
Sharing: Author's Chair
  • Sharing and Author's Chair usually take 10 minutes and be done either by having the students
    • read to the class a 'published book“
    • by children sharing their work in pairs
    • by allowing students to read published works to themselves.
  • Peer Sharing or allowing students to read classmates works individually and write TAG comments may be preferred by Upper Grade Elementary students.
  • Student Assessment is done by keeping a portfolio of revisions and copies of completed work.
the reader s workshop mini lesson
The Reader’s Workshop Mini-Lesson

Reader’s Workshop starts with a mini-lesson that is based on a reading strategy.

  • The mini-lesson must be short, concise, and focused and begins with a connection.
  • The teacher models the strategy through reading, using a mentor text.
  • The students take part in practicing the strategy through a simple activity.
  • Students then read independently, either using an assigned novel or a self-selected piece, practicing the strategy for immediate implementation.

The workshop can then proceed with the week’s activities that include a variety of learning opportunities, many of which are based on the mini-lesson strategy, including teacher conferencing. The teacher conference, in small groups, allows the teacher to get a better perspective on how well the students are grasping the strategy and allows students to ask questions and share responses in a less threatening environment. The students can then rotate through the activities daily. Students can also work independently to implement the strategy, using the traditional elementary model.


Flexible Grouping

Reader’s Workshop groups may transform…..

Jamie Saponaro


Example of Management of a Reader’s Workshop in a 50-minute period

other ideas
Other Ideas
  • Reader’s Workshop can be done in pairs, where the strategy is practiced by each partner together.
  • Instead of using an assigned novel or reading selection, students can choose their own “Just Right” book (determined by using running records) to practice the strategy.
  • Students can choose magazines, newspaper articles, content area text assignments, etc. The idea is that they read what they are comfortable with and eventually, they make their own choices to read novels.
  • Students can practice the strategy with an assigned class novels as well as a self-selected, leveled piece.
where reading and writing workshop merge
Where Reading and Writing Workshop Merge
  • Students are able to write about what they are reading about.
  • Often the reading strategy mini-lesson focus can also be the writing strategy mini-lesson focus.
  • Writing styles should mimic the styles of the currents readings.