Making the Most of Reading Workshop

Written by Julie Wright & Barry Hoonan

The beginning of the school year is a great time to take stock in workshop—analyzing how we spend the learning time that we have during the reading block. If you want to launch and sustain small group learning opportunities, prioritizing a big chunk of time dedicated to student work time is key!

What Does Workshop Look Like?

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  • The Launch is quick, 5-7 minutes of orienting to the work of workshop.  This is a great time to activate schema and build excitement and purpose around the purpose of the work.  

  • The Minilesson is the time where we teach, model or show students something that will help lift their work on that day or across the learning progression, lasting approximately 9-11 minutes.

  • The Work Time is the time during workshop when students do the heavy lifting of reading, writing, thinking, talking, making, creating, designing and doing. This is when students practice being readers and writers--for real purposes and preferably a real audience. This is also a perfect time to meet with half groups, small groups or one-on-one with students.

  • The Debrief at the end of workshop gives students the opportunity to bookend bookend their thinking and learning through a 5 minute share out..  This is a great opportunity for students to talk and reflect about how they spent their reading time, new ideas that emerged, things they figured out, and plans for moving forward. 

Here’s an Example

Let’s take a look at a week-long learning progression where the goal is for students to read widely and deeply about a topic/inquiry of interest.  

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For more about workshop, check out Chapter 1 to learn more about high leverage use of time during reading workshop in  To analyze how much time readers are actually working, download this form