LEARNING THROUGH THE LENS OF AGENCY & IB TRANS-DISCIPLINARY THEMES
At Learning Skills International School, reading centers around “Reading Workshop” which teaches the skills children need to develop into life-long readers. In Reading Workshop, students choose (sometimes with teacher guidance) books that are “just right” for them. They read for meaning and purpose, and they share what they read with others. Reading Workshop gives students a lot of time to read. Research tells us that the amount of independent reading students do in school is directly related to their progress as readers, as well as a source of vocabulary growth and reading fluency.
Below Are Some Key Elements:
- A belief that readers develop at different paces, and knowledgeable teachers take the time to understand learners, in order to develop proficiency and a love of reading
- A classroom community that emphasizes reading as a meaning-making activity and prioritizes time for readers to think and talk about their reading with teachers and peers
- A workshop approach that provides structure and choice, as well as time for whole group, small group and individual instruction
- Classroom libraries in which texts are organized according to genre, author, topic, complexity, and cross-curricular connections to help children self-select texts and build reading identities
- Formal and informal assessments to plan instruction that both supports and challenges growing readers
Reading Workshop also gives students the time and opportunities to communicate about reading with their teachers and their peers – both orally and in writing. They have choices about what they read and have guidance that encourages them to select books that will best help them grow as a reader – what we call a “just right” book. Teachers will also steer students to select not only a “just right” book, but also books that help develop an expansive reading identity. For that to happen, we might encourage a child who reads exclusively in one genre (fantasy, for example) to try reading historical fiction or we might tell a child they are ready to read something a little longer. Sometimes, though, we’ll guide a child towards something easier, as reading “too hard” books can result in children simply decoding words, rather than reading for purpose and meaning. Through these kinds of discussions with children, we help them envision a reading life they want to make for themselves. The goals of our reading instruction are to develop competence, enjoyment, and understanding.These are the characteristics we teach and observe every day in Reading Workshop.
Learning Good Reader Habits
Students in Reading Workshop do not “just read.” They learn and practice the habits and skills of good readers. To teach those habits and skills you will see the following in our classrooms:
- Listening and responding to high quality literature
- Selecting (with the help of a teacher) and reading independently a “just right” book
- Small group, teacher-led instruction as well as partner reading and student-led book clubs
- Comprehension lessons
- Integration of reading and writing