TDS Monthly

December 2014

Let's Talk About Reading

We have been spending much of our PD time focused on Math Workshop over the past year, but we would love to do a little refreshing and renewing with our Reading Workshop. Keep reading for some great tips, tricks, and really valuable information to help make your reader's workshop the best it can be.

What Does the Research Say?

Round Robin Reading Research

Many teachers use this practice, also called "popcorn" reading during whole group and small group reading. What we have learned through extensive studies is that research does NOT support Round Robin reading. Why??

  1. Brain studies show that students who are reading aloud to a group are more focused on saying the word correctly than thinking about what they are reading.
  2. Students read less and therefore spend more time off task with less good reading instruction happening.
  3. It lacks differentiation-If we have one reader who is slower than the other do we ask one to slow down or another to speed up?
  4. It does not build fluency, it has actually been found that reading rates slow using this practice.

What Should I Do Instead?

Here are some great alternatives:

  • Shared Reading- teacher reads aloud, modeling good fluency and intonation, students follow along in their own copy of the book. Teacher stops to model comprehension strategies of good readers.
  • Independent Reading- students read independently (in their head or in a whisper) and are given a purpose for reading. "While you are reading pages 14-16 see if you can figure out why...". This is a great time for a teacher to "listen in" on a student or two.
  • Partner Reading- Students are, again, given a purpose for reading. You must first train students on how to work together as partners.
  • Echo Reading- this method is perfect for our youngest readers and helps to build fluency and intonation. The book/text is divided into sections, the teacher reads and then the students read the same text using the same expression as the teacher.
  • Choral Reading- students all read a section of text at the same time. This can be done with the teacher reading at the same time as a model or it can just be the group of students.

Digging in Deep with Comprehension

Fountas and Pinnell provide language for teaching readers how to focus or expand their thinking through talk and writing before, during, and after reading. The goal is to help students think in three broad ways.

1. Thinking Within the Text
Noticing and using the information that is directly stated in the text

For example: What was the problem in the story? Or Tell some of the things the girl likes to play with.

2. Thinking Beyond the Text
Noticing what is implied, not explicitly stated

For example: Did this book remind you of anything? Or How do you think the girl was feeling in the story?

3. Thinking About the Text
Analyzing the writer's craft and thinking critically about the whole text.

For example: How did the author show that Hanna learned a lesson in this story? Or What did the author do to tell the information in a special way to make it easy for you to understand how an egg turns into a butterfly?

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What Does the Daily Data Tell Us?

When incorporated into classroom practice, the formative assessment process provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are still happening. The process serves as practice for the student and a check for understanding during the learning process. The formative assessment process guides teachers in making decisions about future instruction. Here are a few examples that may be used in the classroom during the formative assessment process to collect evidence of student learning.

· Observations

· Questioning

· Discussion

· Exit/Admit Slips

· Learning/Response Logs

· Graphic Organizers

· Peer/Self Assessments

· Practice Presentations

· Visual Representations

· Kinesthetic Assessments

· Individual Whiteboards

· Laundry Day

· Four Corners

· Constructive Quizzes

· Think Pair Share

· Appointment Clock

· As I See It

To find out more about these formative assessments, please visit

Tina Johnston, Marci Derado, and Fatima Rich

Your Elementary Teacher Development Specialists