Readers workshop expands across junior high English department

Autumn+Barry-Kyle%27s+students+read+their+reading+workshop+books.+The+students+picked+their+own+books+based+on+their+own+interests.+

Cassidy Klock

Autumn Barry-Kyle's students read their reading workshop books. The students picked their own books based on their own interests.

Cassidy Klock, Reporter

Reading workshop began at the junior high school at the start of last year. It started with just a few teachers, and now has expanded to include most teachers in the English department. 

Reading workshop is a program that lets the child choose a book of his or her choice. It also incorporates lessons and teaching points that the student can use while he or she is reading. 

“With teaching reading workshop, it really made me rethink how I used to teach my class novels. The students can use these skills with anything and not just that book which could be extremely useful in the future,” English teacher Julie Storm said.

Students find a routine to reading workshop. Typical lessons include the mini lesson, reading responses, sharing and read alouds. 

“I like having a change of pace with all of the different types of lessons we take on. I like how it is a change of pace compared to what we used to do,” ninth grader Peyton Daniel said. 

Some believe that there is still a problem with getting kids to read their books they chose. 

“With reading workshop, it’s crucial to read the book you select. If you don’t read the book or you fall behind, it can be difficult trying to get back at a pace where you will finish the book by the deadline,” Storm said. 

For some teachers and students, this is their second year of reading workshop.

“In my second year, I’ve noticed students really seem to enjoy the freedom of choosing their own books more. I also have to do less prompting and most of my students are even taking their books home to read on their own,” English teacher Alyssa Hetrick said. 

“I have been doing work with my group a lot this year which is very different from what I did last year. In my group we look at characters more in depth which really helps me understand my book a lot more than what I did when I was not taking part in reading workshop,” ninth grader Robert Woomer said.

“Doing reading workshop this year is going a lot smoother. I know what I am doing during mini lessons and the other teaching points. Also, the teachers are having everything run a lot smoother seeing as they are more familiar with how to teach the lessons properly. The only change is now we are working in partners or groups and talking about our books and things like character traits which I really like because it makes everything a lot more interactive which doesn’t usually happen during a normal English class,” ninth grader Elizabeth Summers said.