What is Reading Workshop?
Reading workshop is a time that I am able to individualize instruction for each student. At the beginning of each workshop, we have a minilesson as a whole group to learn strategic reading. Students then work individually on "just right" books. At that time, I am able to work with each student on his/her own level. I can specifically address strengths and areas which need improvement with each student in an individual setting. Following the conferences, we reconvene as a whole group to discuss what we did well as readers and how we used the strategy taught in the minilesson.
All readers bring some type of information from their lives to reading a text. This makes it possible for a higher level of comprehension to occur. Good readers draw on their personal experiences, previous experiences with text, and knowledge of the world around them to make connections. These conncections are known as Text to Self= connecting a text you are reading to something in your own life, Text to Text= connecting a text you are reading to something you have read before, and Text to World= connecting a text you are reading to something happening in the real world. We need to help students connect the known to the unknown.
As adults, we question while we read without even thinking about it. This allows us to understand more fully what we are reading. Kids don't automatically know that good readers "ask questions in their heads" while reading. We need to teach children that asing questions engages them and keeps them reading. Their questions do matter!
Some of our questions can be answered from what we are reading or a previous experience. We may have to discuss our questions with someone else or do some research. We may have to make a guess or inference based on what we are reading. In some cases, our questions may not be anwered.
You may wish to talk with your child about what he/she is reading and ask him/her to make questions before, during, and after reading. Did the questioning help her to understand her reading? How did she answer her questions? What questions does she still have?
"Proficient readers spontaneously and purposely create mental images while and after they read. The images emerge from all five senses as well as the emotions and are anchored in a reader's prior knowledge." -- Keene and Zimmerman, Mosaic of Thought
The more detailed the image, the longer it will stay in memory. Pausing to reflect on images helps us to understand text. Images may change as we read on. Readers may have different images from others.
This is probably one of the most complex of the strategies. We can compare synthesizing to a puzzle. We take the "pieces" of a story we are reading and put it "together" with strategies and background that we already have to come up with the complete story and hopefully a better understanding of it. Essentially, we are taking facts from what we are reading, thinking about them, and learning something new. When readers synthesize, they remember to tell what is important, tell it in a way that makes sense, and try not to tell too much.
Drawing inferences is basically "reading between the lines." We make inferences by combining what we read with relevant prior knowledge. When proficient readers infer, they "draw conclusions from text; make reasonable predictions as they read,test and revise those predictions as they read further; create interpretations of text that are adapted as they continue to read and after they read; use the combination of background knowledge and explicitly stated information from the text to answer questions they have as they read; make connections between conclusions they draw and other beliefs or knowledge; and make critical or analytical judgments about what they read." --- Keene and Zimmerman, Mosaic of Thought
When an author doesn't answer a question in the text, a reader must infer... Maybe... I think... It could be... It's because... Perhaps... It means that... I'm guessing ...