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Topic: Anyone using Reading Workshops based on Atwell's The Reading Zone?

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Subject: Anyone using Reading Workshops based on Atwell's The Reading Zone?
Date Posted: 5/26/2010 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 4
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Our district is involved in a major overhaul in curriculum with the Atwell model for writing and reading workshops becoming the basis for our instruction. We have used Accelerated Reader for many years as part or our reading program in our jr.high where I teach, and now there is a "push" to change over to a more "student-choice" reading workshop similar to the one described in Atwell's The Reading Zone. I'm skeptical because without AR, how do we hold students accountable for what they are reading? Our 8th graders have currently been involved in a reading workshop for the past two years, and when I talk with former students most honestly admit that they haven't really been reading because they don't have to (as in being accountable for what they read). Does anyone out there use this model successfully in their classroom? Can you offer some suggestions for what you do with your reading workshop? Thanks! 

Subject: Hello
Date Posted: 7/14/2010 3:13 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2009
Posts: 9
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I use this with my sophomores as a piece of their curriculum. A way to enforce this is to keep a reading log every day of where the students are at in their books. They can also keep individual logs. Usually, I have about 3 kids in each class who don't read. I can't tell you how many kids have said that these are the first books they've read since elementary school. The only way it works is by having a small amount of time for the kids to read in class. Otherwise, they don't get into their books. This is when I walk around and check the page they are each on. I also post their name, the book, and the number of pages it is on a bulletin board for their class when they finish a novel. I keep track of each students. At the end of the quarter, I total the number of pages each kid reads and make a spreadsheet for each class. I then take the average number of pages read for each class. Then, that class gets a prize (bookmarks or some other item I purchase inexpensively from Oriental Trading). The competition aspect inspires many of them.

You have to remember that there will always be kids who don't read. I hate sparknotes and those sites that allow them to do well even without reading. But, I feel like I have found ways to make them much more accountable. 

Okay, now for accountability. I have a ton of ways to hold them accountable. I do minilessons on literary terms such as "Characterization" or "Conflict" in class. Then, I have them write about how their author uses that term and whether or not they think the author was effective. I also have them journal and write about their books. It is easy to tell who is reading. I have a huge classroom library of YA books that I've read, so I let them sign these books out, and I know all of the books. Rarely, a kid has his/her own book, and when that happens, they are responsible enough to have gone to the library, so they are a reader. 

This link is very powerful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gokm9RUr4ME

Subject: Wow, thank you for that link
Date Posted: 7/14/2010 6:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2009
Posts: 18
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Thank you so much for that link.

Last year I worked as a support teacher in an international school. I tried my best all year to convince the English teacher that it is essential to give kids choice. At the end of the year, she tried it for a few weeks and was impressed at how even reluctant readers actually began reading. I will send her this link!

Take care,


Subject: Love reading workshop
Date Posted: 7/15/2010 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2005
Posts: 113
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I have used this format for the past five years, in my first grade classroom, and have had great success with it. I track my students reading needs by using

running records and DRA assessments. The running record allows me to identify specific reading issues (syntactic, semantic, visual cues).

The DRA allows me to determine reading level and comprehension issues. My students have their own personal book boxes, filled with books that are

at their independent and instructional level. All of my students read with me during our guided reading sessions. I use to have a problem with getting my

boys to read, but with this format, I find that all of my students enjoy reading.