My reader’s workshop journey continues as I start to engage in the professional development that surrounds my district’s purchase of the Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Reading. Have I told you how excited I am?! Yes, I’m sure I have as I’ve written several posts this year around the process my district has gone through to get us to the point of planning full implementation of a reading workshop framework next fall. I can’t wait!
Our first professional development opportunity came on one of the last in-service days of the school year. The district sought out the expertise of CESA 6 and invited Nicole Lehr to share her knowledge and experiences with the Lucy Reading Units of Study. Grades 3-5 spent the morning with Nicole and grades K-2, the afternoon. I was lucky enough to attend the entire day. As I listened and engaged in the presentation, there were plenty of moments that validated my thinking, some excellent reminders, yet also several items I knew I needed to dig deeper into as they are integral components in the success of a reading workshop. The two at the top of my list are text bands and learning progressions.
Why Text Bands?
- We use them to confer with readers
- They give us a better grasp on the books our students are reading
- We use knowledge of the text bands to help students tackle the work they will take on in their own books
Why Learning Progressions?
- They can act almost as cue cards by giving pointed, specific tips about a student’s next steps
- We can use them to teach transference across genres
- Understanding them allows us to be able to place the work the child is attempting to do and place it on a larger map that charts pathways to proficiency
Lucy provides two excellent resources in her kits that offer invaluable information about the reader’s workshop: A Guide to the Reading Workshop (Primary and Intermediate) and Reading Pathways. My next step is facilitating a book study over the summer using these resources to build a deeper understanding of text bands and learning progressions as well as the reading workshop in general. Hopefully this will prepare us to get the most out of the professional development in August from the Teacher’s College Reading & Writing Project and for successful implementation in the fall.
The most exciting part of this whole journey will be witnessing the extraordinary growth in our students’ literacy development and their flourishing love of reading due to great teaching and tons and tons of opportunities to read and write. Lucy says it best:
Powerful instruction produces visible and immediate results; when youngsters are taught well, the thinking, talking, and writing about reading they produce becomes far more substantial, complex, and significant. Good teaching pays off. When you provide students with constant opportunities to read and to write and when you actively and assertively teach into their best efforts, their literacy development will astonish you, their parents, the school administrators, and best of all, the students themselves.
Lucy Calkins, 2015