Interactive Read Aloud has completely changed the way I teach reading! I want to shout this from the teachers lounge rooftop 🙂 My school has been teaching Lucy Calkins’ Writing Workshop for the past several years. At the beginning of THIS year, I was asked to be a Reading Workshop “lab classroom” which basically means I committed myself to learning how to teach Reading Workshop and then sharing my experience with my colleagues. If you are already familiar with Writing Workshop, the Reading Workshop format is very similar:
– 5-15 minute mini lesson
– 15-30 minutes of independent reading (while you are conferring or leading strategy groups)
– 5 minute “Readers Share”
Planning for Reading Workshop is easier than planning for ANY reading program I have ever taught. That is a hands-down, absolute, total FACT. I can work with every reader individually and I can teach the rigorous Common Core standards through REAL literature (which I love!). I outlined the six steps that I think can get any K-5 teacher started with teaching Reading Workshop through an Interactive Read Aloud…
Your goal will be to model how you use the skill in your own reading during your mini-lesson. The more authentic your modeling is, the more effective. To do this, sit down with the book before you teach the skill. Read it with the strategy in mind. For example, if you are going to do a lesson on “context clues”, read the book and notice when you use them yourself. Write this down on your post-it.
When you read your book aloud, you will also be teaching your mini-lesson. To do this, stop 3-5 times during your read aloud and model how you used the strategy. You should also give your students a chance to practice the skill. Our classrooms are too full for us to rely on calling on one student at a time. Every student needs to be thinking and interacting for every question you ask. For some more detailed tips on how to make your lessons more interactive, you can see my related blog post here.
Independent reading is a critical part for a Reading Workshop. Fountas and Pinnell say it best:
“Students learn to read by reading continuous text. There are many times during the school day when your students will focus on how to spell a word, the relationship between letters and sounds, or the meaning of a word, but it is essential that they spend the bulk of their time processing continuous text.”
For my second graders, this means 25-30 minutes of independent reading each day. While they are reading, I am conferring (I try to confer with 3-4 students per day). My students are reading books they choose that are at their “just right” reading level.
I require my students to respond via a post-it note when they use the strategy we are working on. For example, if they are working on using context clues, they should write out how they used it independently. This gives me a great starting off poing for my conferences. It is also a simple and effective formative assessment that shows me what is “clicking”.
There you have it! If you are already doing a regular read aloud, I hope you see it is just a little bit more work to make an engaging and meaningful mini lesson. If you are interested, I also have a downloadable file that contains all of this information and MORE. This is perfect for sharing with your colleagues. Download here (google doc). Enjoy!