Somehow it seems like anything whole group has gotten a bad reputation, but it doesn’t have to be a negative instructional strategy. Do I believe in differentiation? Absolutely! Do I implement guided reading and guided group reading? You bet! However, there is also a time and place in my classroom for whole group reading lessons.
Group Reading Workshop
Reading workshop begins with a mini-lesson that lasts approximately 15 minutes. During each mini-lesson, the teacher introduces a specific concept or teaching point. During this time, teacher will explicitly model or demonstrate the skill for the students, and students get a chance to practice the skill or strategy on their own or with a partner. I love using mentor texts when modeling reading strategies or when teaching students to notice literary devices and story elements.
Ideally, I would have already read the mentor text before my mini lesson. However, this doesn’t always work with my schedule. In some cases I have our read-aloud right before our mini lesson, so I can read the book in its entirety before introducing our teaching point. I will then reread sections and refer to specific parts of the text during the mini lesson.
After the mini lesson is what I refer to as work time, although there are many different names for this part of the lesson. This time is the biggest block of reading workshop, and it is when students are completing a variety of activities. For the most part, my students are reading self-selected texts at their independent level. Students will also participate in guided reading groups, where they meet with the teacher for additional reading instruction based on their specific needs. Some teachers also use this time for literature circles, book clubs, centers, and more. You can read more about my guided reading groups here.
The closing is a 5–10 minute time period in which students gather to reflect on their work as readers. I reinforce the mini lesson, and I give students a chance to share how they applied the mini lesson to their independent reading.