Organizing Reader's Workshop {#TBT}

I am so excited about linking up with my sweet friend, Cara {The First Grade Parade} to share and oldie but goldie about how to implement and organize Reader's Workshop. I get tons of questions about how I structure reading in my this should answer lots of those questions. 

Since we are celebrating the past today, I have also put My Reader's Workshop Unit on sale in my TPT shop for today only! Check it out below! 

*************************************Originally Posted: 12-1-12************************************ 

Raise your hand if you are a Reader's Workshop fanatic! Since being exposed to this strategy {I was sheltered for quite some time}, I have been head over heels in love {don't tell my husband}. Obviously, so many of you feel the same exact way! I have received so many emails about my newest unit, so I am going to try to answer some of the most common questions. If you are on the fence about Reader's Workshop, hopefully this little Q & A will help you out just a bit! By the way, thanks for all of the amazingly sweet comments that many of you have sent about my newest unit! Y'all are the best! Okay...on to Reader's Workshop. 

How do you fit Reader's Workshop into your day? 

One thing is for sure! I would cancel/rearrange/ask for an extended day before I would eliminate this time from my schedule. Since implementing Reader's Workshop, along with a model for independent reading in the classroom, the success that I have seen has truly been remarkable. So I say...MAKE IT fit! One of the ways that I can devote such a large chunk of time to reading is through the power of integration. Since we are making the shift {or as some say...shift happens} to Common Core, Reader's Workshop has been the perfect time to integrate both science and social studies through text sets and research. The kids learn so much and are not only excelling in reading, but also in science and social studies. I would say this has definitely been a win in our classroom. I also strive to pull reading into other content areas as well. Anyways, all of that to say this...As teachers, we must make time for instruction that will impact the growth of each and every student! If you can not already tell, Reader's Workshop comes highly recommended! ;) Here is a look at my daily schedule: 

How do you manage students during independent reading time?
If I had a dollar for every time someone has said "I would so do Reader's Workshop, but I just don't understand what my students should be doing during application and independent reading time", I would be a VERY rich woman! Believe me, I completely get it! I was so worried about this exact same thing. Then, I observed it in action and could not believe how independent students truly become when they are instructed on procedure, are provided with consistent expectations, and are held accountable for their work. Reader's Workshop is a process and definitely does not happen overnight. However, you will be very surprised how quickly your students catch on to this process. Mostly because they will LOVE Reader's Workshop and the improvement that they will see in their reading in just a short time. My best piece of advice is to treat Reader's Workshop and independent sustained reading like the beginning of the year. Drill and practice those procedures and expectations over and over {and over again} until they have it nailed! You will be so glad that you did. In my classroom, I have several procedures in place that keep the students on track with text selection and keep us all organized. This definitely helps students become "trained" in Reader's Workshop. 

The students are assigned a reading area each day. This allows the students to know exactly where they should be at all times during Reader's Workshop.  When the students need to select new texts, they must sign up on our book shopping list. This allows me to know when they have completed their text that were previously selected. I try to check their notebooks before they shop just to do a spot check of reading progress. 

The students also have reading boxes. They keep all of their reading materials in their box so that each day, they know exactly where all of their materials are located. Reading boxes can be made out of just about anything. They do not have to be super fancy. In fact, you can even make your students reading bags out of Ziploc Freezer Bags. This is probably one of the *best* things that I did to really help the students stay organized so that they do not interrupt my reading instruction needing assistance in locating books/notebooks. 

What should my students look like during independent reading? 

Well, they should be reading! Duh...right? On a serious note, there is no simple answer to this question because each grade level would look extremely different, depending on the developmental level of your children. In my classroom, students are mainly engaged in reading. However, we use reading notebooks to make sure that the students are held accountable for their reading on a daily basis. They also complete both weekly/monthly assignments that bring a little bit of writing into this time. Here is a look at a few things that we do to build our comprehension: 

Reader's Response 

The students are responsible for submitting two Reader's Response entries each month. 

In an effort to encourage students to read across the genres, they are responsible for their genre ticket project each nine weeks. 

Does your new unit include resources to help organize my classroom library.  
Of course! This is probably one of the best parts about this unit. It includes everything that you may need to organize your classroom library. It also includes color coded labels to help level your classroom library. During Reader's Workshop, it is essential that students are reading texts to meet the needs of their reading abilities. Note: Your entire library does not have to be leveled to begin. Oh would go crazy. Just take it a little bit at a time. :) 

A few things included in my Reader's Workshop Unit...

Example of a classroom library leveled by genre and reading levels...

Is this unit appropriate for first graders too? 
I definitely think that many of these strategies can be adapted for first graders. If I went back to first grade, I would use many of these strategies and ideas. Of course, anything has to be modified depending on the grade level! 

Shew! I hope this post is at least a little helpful to those of you who are implementing, or who would like to implement Reader's Workshop into the classroom. It will be the best decision you ever made for you...and your students! Hands down!!!!

If you are new to Reader's Workshop, or would like to implement Reader's Workshop into your classroom, I would love for you to check out my newest unit! Take a look below, or check it out at my TPT shop

I hope that you are all having a restful weekend! Happy Saturday!!!  

Head on over and link up with Cara by clicking on the button below! 


  1. Oh my gosh, you've thought of everything! I love all of your pictures and your organization is amazing! The genre tickets are pure genius, too!
    Love seeing everything you do!
    Hope you're having a happy summer!

  2. I've had this on my TPT wishlist FOREVER! With my first year of teaching less than two months away AND it going on sale, I downloaded it immediately. I'm so excited to implement this in my classroom! Thank you for this fabulous resource!


  3. Thank you so much for posting this unit of FB! I linked right over and read...NO..devoured your post! I have already added this to my cart. Thank you so much for the detailed information on how you make it work for you. Also, thank you for sharing your organization and including the labels in your packet. I am anxious to see how this works in my classroom this coming year!
    Where Seconds Count

  4. What an awesome resource! How did you attach the book bin labels?


  5. Where is your PE, Music, and Art time? Shame on you.