Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's Up in Readers' Workshop?

We are continuing to focus on character development in our novels. We are taking a close look at the three ways we learn about the characters in our books: through what the character says or thinks, through what the character does, and through what others say or think about the character.

During our class time each student is either part of a Guided Reading Group or doing an independent study on character. Students will alternate between the two.

Guided Reading Groups
Guided reading is part of a balanced literacy program .  During guided reading, students read as the teacher guides them through the story.  I pause to ask questions and prompt readers to use multiple reading strategies to decode words and comprehend the text.  Great discussions arise from our guided reading sessions as students learn to make connections to the text, predict what will happen and ask questions as they read, visualize events happening in the story, make inferences, and respond to stories in their reading response journals. It is also a time for the teacher to observe whether or not students are using the reading strategies taught during shared reading and teacher read-alouds.

Independent Character Study
Students are reading books of their own selection. Each day they select one of the questions below to think about as they read. During the conclusion of the Readers' Workshop time, they respond to the question in their RW notebook.
  • Are there any powerful characters in the story? What makes them that way?
  • Who is the most interesting character? Why?
  • Who is the most important character? Why?
  • What character is the fairest? Why?
  • Who is the bravest character? Why?
  • Which character taught you the most?
  • Who else could be in the story?
  • What choices does a character have?
  • How does the author reveal the character? (Look at what the character does, thinks, or says; or what others say about the character.)
  • How does one of the characters change? Why?
  • Which characters change and which don't? How is character change important in the story?
  • Who is a character that plays a small role? Why is this character necessary in the story?
  • What did you learn from one character in the story?
  • How did characters feel about one another? Why?
  • Are the characters believable? Why or why not?