This post has book review of Laura Candler’s POWER READING WORKSHOP: A Step-by-Step Guide. Do you wish someone could take you by the hand when planning Reading Workshop and give you clearly-stated, step-by-step directions, with many supportive and practical tips, while saving you time? Do you want your class to make remarkable progress this year? Do you want your students to love to read?
I think all teachers would like clear, practical, helpful, supportive, and reasonable information about Reading Workshop. I know we would all like our classes to make remarkable progress in this day and age, and with today’s importance of testing scores. It just takes so much time and effort to figure it all out on our own.
I am well-read about Reading Workshop and have participated in classes and workshops about reading comprehension, reading strategies, and reading skills. So often, at the end of a class, workshop, or brilliant speaker, I am left to go home and figure out the actual lesson plan, make the work pages, and type long notes to substitutes to try to explain what I have learned. The class or workshop ends, and then my work begins. This is not true with Laura’s book as it is completely ready to use.
Would you like field-tested, teacher approved materials that are ready to use? Not just that the author did one lesson with a class in another part of the country, on one day and wrote up the experience for me to figure out how I could try to emulate the experience. I mean really researched and ready to use! Today!
If you understand what I am talking about, the perfect answer is Laura Candler’s POWER READING WORKSHOP: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE.
I believe this book is really the one for true help, clarity, support, actual lesson plans, and choice, choice, choice for the students and the teacher. Laura’s book lays out such a clear plan for the first ten days that a substitute could follow it perfectly and not ruin the routine. Laura even provides a bibliography for the mini-lessons.
You can even purchase an autographed copy of the book on Laura’s online site!
Just when you may think, “OK for ten days, but then what?” the book gets really helpful and interesting with Laura’s Power Tools. There are 12 and they are just wonderful; because again they are written so clearly anyone can implement them. However, choice is embeded throughout this book so that while you can follow the plans exactly, you also can incorporate your own style and ideas. One tool is about graphic organizers, one is about flexible reading groups, and one is about reading letters. However, all the Power Tools are also clearly explained.
Does this book sound long? It isn’t. The information is what a teacher needs without lengthy stories. In fact, this book is so concise you will want it on hand as a quick reference guide, too.
One feature that I especially like is Laura’s Tips. She even says to have the class take a bathroom break prior to reading workshop, something that if not done could trip up the first few days until a teacher realizes how important it is to have an uninterrupted Reading Workshop session. She provides advice for the easily distracted student, and how much time different lesson components should take. She suggests what to do if your lesson is starting to take too long or the students get restless. She suggests ideas for using technology such as the document camera. She suggests titles for further reading and explains why the recommended books are helpful.
Student reading inventories, a book wish list, a variety of ways for students to self-assess, classroom charts, student journal writing prompts, and posters are all in this book. Many of the pages in this book are ready for the copy machine. No long hours retyping philosophy into useful format required! Reproducible pages are included!
I think this book is perfect for teachers of grades 2-6, plans for substitutes, and also for parents. It could be projected under a document camera at curriculum meetings as the format is ready to be shared.
One note: Laura explains why programs such as Accelerated Reader do not meet the needs of children. I taught in a school where the parents thought AR was teaching reading comprehension, and the word “accelerated” meant their child was bright for participating. There was so much pressure to use the program. If the parents and or students you work with are overly impressed with the AR program, Laura has the information you need to justify the Reading Workshop approach. Nothing, no computer program, can replace a teacher by the side of the student conversing about a book to see if the child is really reading and comprehending.
Laura Candler’s thirty years of teaching experience has culminated in this book that can virtually be used in any upper elementary classroom. The lessons and resources have been field tested and improved to the point of excellence. Save yourself many years and just get this wonderful book that will not only help raise test scores, bring clarity to your Reading Workshop, but also teach students to love reading.
Here is a link to purchase the book on Amazon as I am an affiliate. The book will not cost you more money and the few cents I would earn would help me to be able to continue to offer my free printables. Of course, always check your local library to see if a copy may be checked out.
Happy New Year to you!
PS Did you know Laura has many free materials on her site, also, in her online File Cabinet? Check it out!
I won the following award for this single blog post: