The Reading Workshop

Also known as Reader's Workshop, this page provides information, resources, and ideas for implementation in the classroom!

The Reading Workshop is a teaching method in which the goal is to teach students strategies for reading and comprehension.  The workshop model allows teachers to differentiate and meet the needs of all their students.  Reading Workshop helps to foster a love of reading and gives students chances to practice reading strategies independently and with guidance.  This workshop model is similar to the Writing Workshop model.

Many school districts use the Reading Workshop Model but there are other models of literacy instruction as well.  Please see Balanced Literacy Framework page for more information on another literacy model of instruction.  If you plan to use the Reading Workshop Model, you should teach phonics and word work at another time.

This page gives a basic overview of the Reading Workshop. 

Components of the Reading Workshop:

Time: Component:
10 - 15 minutes Mini-lesson
5 - 10 minutes Read-aloud (can be in conjunction with mini-lesson)
30 - 60 minutes Independent Reading & Conferring
Guided Reading
Response and Reflection
5 minutes Sharing

Description of each component:
From Revisiting The Reading Workshop

Mini-lesson: Read Aloud:
The mini-lessons for the Reading Workshop teach concepts, strategies, and techniques for reading and comprehension while encouraging students to read and interact with good literature.  The 10-15 minute mini-lessons gives teachers the opportunity to give direct instruction to students and model the lessons using authentic literature.  Sample mini-lessons can include:
  • comprehension strategies
  • procedures for Reading Workshop
  • reading strategies and skills
  • literary elements
  • literary techniques (i.e. voice, descriptive words, etc.)

Sites on Mini-lessons:

The read-aloud is an activity in which the teacher reads a book aloud to the whole group.  The purpose of the read-aloud is to model appropriate reading behaviors and reading strategies.  It is also a time to expose children to a variety of genres and literary styles.  The teacher has an opportunity to show students the joys of reading and teach them how to think and discuss text. Teachers should have a set purpose for each read-aloud and should read with the proper fluency, rhythm, and intonation.

The read aloud can be used in conjunction with the mini-lesson.  It provides students with the opportunity to see the teacher model the lesson using an authentic text.

Sites on Read-Alouds:




Independent Reading & Conferring: Guided Reading:
Independent Reading is the heart of the Reading Workshop.  This is the time when students practice strategies modeled in the mini-lesson or practice reading.  Students can read alone, in pairs, or in small response groups.

Teachers have the opportunity to confer with students or teach guided reading lessons or have a small-group lesson on a specific strategy or skill.  Teachers can also do various assessments such as running records, retellings, or keeping anecdotal notes on children's progress.

Some activities include:

  • Responding to text in reader's response notebook.
  • Participate in literature circles.
  • Story chat with a group of students.
  • Work with a reading partner.
  • Do some silent reading

Sites on Independent Reading or Conferring:

Guided reading is a form of small group instruction -- the teacher works with a small group of students that are on the same reading level. Each student usually has their own text and the teacher works with the students on skills depending on their needs, whether it is phonemic awareness, work attack skills, fluency, or reading comprehension. Guided reading is done during independent reading.   For more on guided reading, go to the Guided Reading page.


Response & Reflection: Sharing:
Students need opportunities to respond and reflect about what they are reading. It helps clarify their thinking, ponder questions, and develop divergent thinking.

There are many ways students can respond to text:

  • share connections made with text or mini-lessons
  • use a reader's response journal to write responses and reactions while they are reading or afterwards
  • keep a reading log
  • respond to directions given by teacher (i.e. write a summary, fill in a character map, etc.)
  • have conversations with teacher or classmates about their reading

See the Reader's Response page for more ideas.

Sites on Reader's Response:

The class regroups to discuss what they learned or did in their groups, such as which strategies they employed for reading, or projects they worked on. Share time is VERY IMPORTANT and should not be skipped.  Some of the benefits include:

  • a way to assess what students have and have not learned. 

  • students learn to listen, think, and talk about their learning

  • keeps kids on task, knowing that they will have to discuss their work during share time

Some great strategies for sharing include:

  • Knee to knee: partners go knee to knee to discuss a teacher's question or share what they learned/did in Reading Workshop.

  • Individual Share: teacher asks one student to share something they practiced that the teacher noticed during Reading Workshop.

  • Group Share:  Have students sit in groups to have discussion on a topic or a strategy.



More Sites:


Recommended Books:
Take a look at some of these books for Reading Workshop.  Many of them were a great resource for me when I was implement Reading Workshop in my class. Scroll through