The schools are closed for the foreseeable future, even the rest of the school year in some places. Distance learning has suddenly become our way of life, and students need to continue learning even though they’re at home. You may think that reading workshop only works in a classroom setting, but this post will tell you how you can use reading workshop for distance learning.
Reading Workshop for Distance Learning
If you’re not familiar with the structure of a reading workshop lesson, check out this post to learn more about how it works. We are going to talk about how to set up each part of your lesson for distance learning.
The first part of your reading workshop lesson is the mini lesson. This is where you deliver new content to your students or review something they’ve already learned.
Find out more about planning a mini lesson.
How does this work for distance learning?
You can deliver the mini lesson to your students through a Facebook Live video or a Zoom session if you want them to be able to interact with you live. You can ask them questions and they can type their answers in the comments or the chat box.
Another option would be to record your mini lesson using Screencastify and upload it to Google Classroom or whatever platform you’re using to deliver assignments to your students.
Just create an anchor chart showing the reading strategy you want to teach. Then, choose a picture book to model the strategy. Deliver the lesson just like you would in the classroom. Your students will love seeing you, and sticking with a familiar routine will be comforting for them.
The next part of reading worskhop is independent reading. This is where your students will read a book at their level to practice the reading strategy you taught in the mini lesson.
At the end of your mini lesson, tell your students to find a comfy spot to read at home. They should read for at least 30 minutes a day. This reading time is so important even while school is closed.
While they are reading, they should practice the strategy from the mini lesson. You can send them an assignment through Google Classroom where they share how they used the day’s reading strategy. You could also have them create a video on Flipgrid telling about the work they did during independent reading.
One challenge to independent reading is the fact that your students might not have a lot of books at home. Here are some ways to solve this problem:
- Epic! Books – Epic! Books is a website that is completely free for teachers. There are thousands of books your students can read from home. Just set up an account and enter your students’ names. Invite their parents, and they will be able to access the books anytime at home.
- Reading A-Z – If your school has access to Reading A-Z, you can assign your students leveled readers to use during independent reading time. That way, you can make sure that their books are “just right” for them.
- ReadWorks / Freckle – Both of these websites have articles your students can read to practice the reading strategies.
Remember, the goal is just to have your students reading while they’re at home. Whether it’s a full book or short articles, the more reading they do while the schools are closed, the better prepared they will be when we go back to school.
Conferences / Strategy Groups
Normally while the students are reading independently, you would have conferences with individual students and strategy groups with small groups. This is the hardest part to recreate for distance learning.
Here are some ideas:
- Zoom Meetings / Google Hangouts / Microsoft Teams – Through these platforms, you are able to meet one-on-one or in small groups with your students. Set up a time and schedule a meeting with them. During that time, you can work with them on a specific reading skill.
- Screencastify or other video recording software – Have your students create videos of themselves reading aloud and discussing the reading strategy. Then you can send them written feedback or a video telling them what they did really well and modeling something they can work on until their next conference.
Even if you can’t do the conferencing and strategy groups part of reading workshop from home, the mini lesson and independent reading time will help your students progress with their reading skills and keep them from sliding backwards during this time away from school.
The last part of the reading workshop lesson is the share where your students tell their classmates about how they applied the reading strategy. You can create a discussion thread in a Facebook Group, in Google Classroom, or through Flipgrid videos where your students can share their work.
To find out more about using reading workshop for distance learning, join the Rock the Reading Workshop Facebook Group.
What Do You Think?
What resources are you using for distance learning?
Let me know in the comments below.
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