#NCTE14 J.44 A Reader’s Workshop Starter Kit to Jumpstart the Process

Erika, Amy, Shana, and I are presenting at the NCTE conference today at 2:45pm! Penny Kittle is our Chair, so please join us to discuss the landscape of workshop. We are session J.44.

Think back to your first day of teaching on your first year of teaching. What were you feeling? Happy, nervous, excited, afraid?IMG_1776 Fear. Fear was the first thing I experienced when I stood in my classroom on the first day of school. That and enthusiasm, excitement, eagerness, and hope, but ultimately, I was afraid, knee shaking, stomach churning nervous as I stood in front of my new class. Fear comes with the unknown, which is why my nerves of being a new teacher were compounded by my entry into the workshop model. The concept of the workshop model is simple, yet it’s a structure that so few of us grew up with. In turn, as I transitioned my classroom, I found my nerves could be categorized into the fear of breaking tradition, the fear of parents, the fear of students not reading, and the fear of proving rigor. I was not alone though. Interns and teachers who were new to workshop model faced many of the same fears. In turn, I created a reader’s workshop starter kit to provide my colleagues with concrete documents that helped them establish the workshop model in their classroom. The starter kit includes the following documents:

  • Elements of a Reading Workshop by Penny Kittle
  • Reading Letter for parents
  • Calculating Reading Rates & Reading Rates Log Sheet
  • Weekly Reading Recording Sheet
  • Excel Sheet Weekly Reading Recording Sheet
  • Book Conference Log
  • Questions to Ask While Conferencing
  • Book Talk Outline
  • Resources for Helping Students to Find New Books

Whether you are a new teacher or simply new to the reader’s workshop, I hope this starter kit will make your journey a bit easier. Enjoy every step and savor even the smallest successes. If you have any questions or comments about starter kit, please feel free to contact me at Jackie.catcher@gmail.com.

Click Here to Download the Reader’s Workshop Starter Kit

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9 thoughts on “#NCTE14 J.44 A Reader’s Workshop Starter Kit to Jumpstart the Process

  1. […] a group endeavor to make the days run as smoothly as possible so we can accomplish our goals and objectives–namely, becoming lifelong readers and writers. […]


  2. […] help him get going on the reading-and-writing workshop–the “theory” version of Jackie’s starter kit.  He’s been in my classroom before, so he knows the general routine and character of our […]


  3. RM August 12, 2015 at 7:06 pm Reply

    Thank you so, so much for this! I’m a second year high school English teacher (freshmen and seniors), and I’ve been enjoying reading Kittle’s Book Love. I knew I wanted to implement choice reading this year as a big part of my classes; however, I’ve faced ridicule for my “crazy ideas” from colleagues since, after all, “These kids HATE to read. They’re never going to do it.” Needless to say, those comments made me feel defeated, to say the least! You have no idea how happy I am to have come across this resource!


    • Amy August 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm Reply

      Kids do not hate to read. I get so tried of this ridiculousness. Kids like to read a lot actually. They just do not like to read what a teachers tells them they have to — unless they are interested. Choice leads to so many learning opportunities. You know that. Best wishes and everything good as you do what is right by kids. Keep records. You will have proof to show your scoffers in no time. Also remember, conferring regularly with your readers is key in why workshop works. The more they know you want to hear them talk about their books and their reading, the more they will read. Let us know how it goes, and always ask if you have questions. We love to help other teachers enjoy the success of students devouring books. It’s fun actually!


  4. […] fall was all about starting and maintaining workshop in high school English classes. Jackie shared A Reader’s Workshop Starter Kit to Jumpstart the Process. Erika shared Landscape of Workshop: We Have Arrived. Shana shared Non-negotiables Across the […]


  5. jackiecatcher November 24, 2014 at 7:38 am Reply

    Hi Kara,

    That is phenomenal! Thanks for passing it along and I love to hear that your principal buys into the workshop model. It’s so powerful to have him pass it along to those in more traditional schools. Thanks for coming and for your words of encouragement!



  6. Kara November 24, 2014 at 3:45 am Reply

    I was so glad to see you all present on Saturday. The energy in the room was amazing. I’m going to bring the starter kit to my principal (who, thankfully, buys into the workshop model) so that he has more of a picture of what a workshop classroom can and should look like when he’s having curricular discussions with the more traditional high school teachers. You did a great job!


  7. Erika B. November 23, 2014 at 8:09 am Reply


    Thank you for your kind words! We’re all glad you were able to join the conversation and hope you continue to do so here. As we all continue to move through the wonders of educating; the authenticity of student movement (full with successes and roadblocks); and “ah-ha”s along the way — we thoroughly enjoy the nationwide conversation. Thank you for being a part of it!

    Warm regards,


  8. Bill Connolly November 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm Reply


    I attended many wonderful sessions at NCTE, including some featuring my personal heroes in this profession. Without a doubt, yours was the most inspirational. I cannot tell you how impressed I was by your intelligence, passion, humor, heart, and professionalism. You have given me much to think about in regard to where I am in my career. Thank you!


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