A week or two ago, I received one of the best early Christmas gifts ever. I have been trying to wrap my mind around reading workshop, daily 5, small groups, and every other method you can think of, but wasn't sure what route was right for me. In fact, a while back I posted asking for some suggestions here and I continued to hunt and hunt and hunt. And then I remembered a while back seeing Laura Candler's Power Reading Workshop. So I went to look at that and her post about how it compares to the Daily 5. I enjoyed the idea of Daily 5 from what I saw from bloggers this summer, but after looking at the book in B&N I just wasn't convinced. I bought the Book Whisperer instead (in October) as a starting point, and I read it within a few days. To say I loved it would be an understatement. But then...I needed to figure out how to implement her ideas in my class. So, I debated on whether I should get Power Reading Workshop for 2 months. Or should I get something else.. or just go for it.
Well my personality wouldn't let me go for it. I need things to be straight forward, in your face, "do it like this". But then, while in search of help, I got Laura Candler's book. And I have been obsessed. (Read-I have used every free minute to read it, even if it was only a page or two at a time.) I had it printed and used my binding machine to bind it (so that I could highlight and write in it...I can't read a book like this online). And I knew from the beginning that THIS was the book I should have gotten from the start. And just HOW did I know this? Well within the first ten sentences Laura expresses my exact thoughts... "Why couldn't they see that reading a book was like watching an amazing movie in your mind...?" THIS is exactly what I try to tell my students ALL.THE.TIME. I tell them how when I read my books I feel like I am watching a movie and I laugh at the book, or gasp when something shocking happens. I just couldn't understand why kids don't see the movies in their minds! And Laura clearly felt the same way.
And then just a few paragraphs later she expresses my other huge concern... "I wondered if it could work in today's climate of testing and teacher accountability." Yes that is my huge concern. I can't imagine if my administration walks in and I have kids scattered around the room reading while I am holding individual conferences. In my mind, it would be GREAT to see 20 students actively engaged in their reading. But according to our rubric (yes we have one for what should be going on at all times), this isn't meeting expectations because I am not doing small groups (or may not be THAT day...PRW DOES have small groups but I will get to that in another post) or differentiating (though students are reading on THEIR level and my conferences will have different purposes with different students- someone just walking in won't know that), among other things. But I have decided that I need to try something else because following that rubric isn't working for anyone. And so...
I am going to start Power Reading Workshop with my students after break. And I plan to share this learning experience with all of you. I will share successes and moments of failure (because I will have them) as well as my thoughts on each part of the book. And if you are looking for the perfect guide to help you implement Reading Workshop in your class, I HIGHLY recommend this book.