When you believe in the power of the workshop classroom, research that supports it starts jumping at you like my dog when he sees me put on my running shoes. “Okay, Jag, give me a second. You can go with me.”
So when educators ask me for resources that support my Readers and Writers Workshop instruction, I am happy to share. Come, go with me — and bring all of your students!
Of course, a pretty good resource is Three Teachers Talk, right? The four of us who write here all practice this pedagogy in our unique classrooms in WV, NH, NY, and TX respectively. Erika wrote a great post of our Year in Review that reads like a highlight reel.
Of course, we have different teaching styles, but we all value specific things that never change in our practice: choice, time, talking, reading, writing, conferring, modeling, sharing, publishing. I wrote about these 7 Moves in My Workshop Schedule recently.
Our presentation at NCTE last 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 Landscape of Workshop. And I shared The Landscape of Workshop in AP English. (Our proposal for 2016 was not accepted, but we are mostly over the bitter and will keep advocating for RWW every chance we get.)
If you need research to back the why of readers and writers workshop in addition to what we might share in our posts, you might start with Donalyn Miller’s blog post: “I’ve Got Research. Yes, I Do. I’ve Got Research. How About You?” — Donalyn shares a list of articles and books that support why readers workshop is the best pedagogy for all students.
My colleagues and I believe the best book for secondary readers workshop is Book Love by Penny Kittle. Her argument for independent, choice reading resonated with me the moment I read it.
Donalyn Miller’s the Book Whisperer is another great resource for readers workshop. Although Donalyn taught middle school, many of the ideas she shares work with my AP English Language and Composition students.
For writers workshop, Write Beside Them, also by Penny, is my favorite. That is the book that changed me as an educator.
Another excellent resource for writers workshop is Learning Through Teaching by Don Murray. This is the most recent book Penny recommended to me to help with my own writing. Oh, boy, is it helping!
So, yes, please ask for resources. And if you are already a workshop believer, please share them. Every student I know will thank you.