Laura Candler’s POWER READING WORKSHOP: A Step-by-Step Guide

A Review Of Laura Candler’s 


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.

Important Tips

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!

Laura Candler's POWER READING WORKSHOP: A Step-by-Step Guide

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.

Happy New Year to you!

Happy reading,


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:

Accelerated Degree Programs

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education, a MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and has completed the KHT Montessori 12 month program. She makes mostly free resources for teachers and parents.


  1. Clemencia 01/07/2012 at 8:27 pm

    This sounds so awesome!!! I don’t think is ever too early for this book. I would love to get it for my daughter and recommend it to her teacher and her classmates, thanks for the opportunity to win one 🙂

  2. Kathryn 01/07/2012 at 1:17 pm

    I would love to win a copy of Laura’s book, I am really keen to develop my 10, 11, 12 year old readers in any way I can.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/07/2012 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks, those are perfect ages for this! Good luck, Carolyn

  3. Julee Carns 01/07/2012 at 8:40 am

    I am using many of Laura’s ideas for math and reading. I bought her leveled math problem solving books and they’re great for differentiation. I’d love a copy of this book as it sounds like just what I need to power-up my reading workshop. Carolyn, you wrote an awesome review!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/07/2012 at 3:21 pm

      Dear Julee: I think you are right! So, good luck to you! Carolyn

  4. Melinda Sanders 01/07/2012 at 8:37 am

    I clicked on the link of the book and saw that Laura has a download to preview the book. It looks great! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win one. (I love free!)

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/07/2012 at 3:22 pm

      Yes, Melinda, the preview on Laura’s site probably says all this much better than I can describe it. Thanks for pointing that out, and good luck! Carolyn

  5. Carol Ammons 01/07/2012 at 6:48 am

    It sounds like this book is just what I need to get my Reader’s Workshop running more smoothly. I get the theory, but my timing is inconsistent. Additionally, I am trying to integrate Social Studies with Reading. I teach 4th grade. Thanks for sharing this resource. I cannot wait to read it!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/07/2012 at 3:23 pm

      Dear Carol: Laura’s book would fit in perfectly with Social Studies and 4th grade. Her ideas straighten everything out, for sure. Good luck to you! Carolyn

  6. Paula McCusker 01/07/2012 at 6:45 am

    I actually already have Laura’s book and I completely agree with the value of the book. It fits well with our district use of Making Meaning, Jan Richardson, and Daily Five. (And the Donalyn Miller “The Book Whisperer”)

    I would love an autographed copy to share with a colleague.

    Great review!

    • Kathryn 01/07/2012 at 1:16 pm

      Paula, thanks I am a Daily Five follower and love Donalyn Miller’s Book Whisperer, I have been wondering abouthow Laura’s book would fit in.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/07/2012 at 3:20 pm

      Dear Kathryn: Please look at the comment from Paula McCusker below. She feels it fits with THE BOOK WHISPERER. I haven’t finished the book yet (I have started it) but since Laura’s book is so clear and age appropriate, I do think they books fit together. Good luck! Carolyn

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/07/2012 at 3:23 pm

      Paula, I hope you can share the book with someone, then! How kind of you, good luck, Carolyn

  7. Dilly Ward 01/06/2012 at 11:05 pm

    I’ve seen posts about the reading workshop and I would love to read the book!!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/07/2012 at 3:24 pm

      As one person pointed out, there is a free preview on Laura’s site. You could at least get that part now. Good Luck, Dilly. Carolyn

  8. Jennifer Haltiwanger 01/06/2012 at 7:36 pm

    We are required to teach Reading using a “Balanced Literacy” approach. Our lesson plans are required to have Modeled, Shared, Guided, and Independent Reading “activities”. Would the “Power Reading Workshop” work with this approach to reading? I love Laura’s math resources…I’m sure her reading resources are just as WONDERFUL!!!!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/06/2012 at 7:52 pm

      Absolutely Laura’s book is a balanced literacy approach. The power hours really enhance the reading workshop in wonderful ways. Test scores rise with this teacher tested approach. Yes, it would work for your lessons and has those lesson components. Good luck! Carolyn

  9. Yusra Millenbaugh 01/05/2012 at 10:37 pm

    This sounds like a great book! I’m a huge fan of reading workshop, but can always use extra maintaining it through the year and improving my lessons!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/06/2012 at 7:53 pm

      This book would energize your reading workshop and would motivate you in new ways. Good luck! Carolyn

  10. Monica Horn 01/05/2012 at 9:54 pm

    Wow! This book sounds so useful and teacher friendly. I would love to read it.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/06/2012 at 7:53 pm

      I’m sure you would! Good luck to you, Carolyn

  11. Ellen Parker 01/05/2012 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to enter for a chance to win your book. It sounds like a wonderful resource for setting up and maintaining Reader’s Workshop. I would love to be a winner!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/06/2012 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks for your comments and good luck to you, Carolyn

  12. Sherry 01/05/2012 at 8:24 pm

    I would love a copy of this book so I could see a better way to do Reading Workshop.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/06/2012 at 7:54 pm

      This book really helps. Good luck, Carolyn

  13. Tamara Walters 01/05/2012 at 8:10 pm

    Step-by-step has me hooked! Reading is not my strong subject (I’m a math person) so this would be great in my classroom! Looking forward to see who wins 🙂

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/06/2012 at 7:55 pm

      If you are a math person and like clear helpful information that reads like a recipe with comments and helpful hints, you would love this book. Good luck to you! Carolyn

  14. Kathy Smith 01/05/2012 at 8:04 pm

    This book sounds great! I, too, have been to numerous workshops, trainings, etc., and have learned some exciting useful strategies, but no clear way of getting it all organized. I have put in long hours creating and recreating activities but I feel like some days I am just spinning my wheels. Looking forward to reading your book.:)

  15. Debbie Ramsey 01/05/2012 at 7:56 pm

    I love Reader’s Workshop!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:58 pm

      That’s great! You would love it more with this book, really. Good luck, Carolyn

  16. Teresa 01/05/2012 at 7:27 pm

    This sounds TOTALLY like something I need! I get the IDEA behind it and love it, but the implementation is difficult!! Even if I don’t get the freebie, I’ll probably STILL buy it and read it this summer to implement next year.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:50 pm

      Right, this makes implementation easy and immediate. Good luck! Carolyn

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/12/2012 at 7:57 pm

      You won by random number generator, Teresa! Please email me your address. There is a contact form on the right side of my blog, so let me know your address! Carolyn

  17. Sarah Glover 01/05/2012 at 6:58 pm

    I love that it gives actual lesson plans for instruction. We can always use new ideas!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:49 pm

      You are correct, this book can start helping in about 5 minutes. It is great and works with any programs. Good luck, Carolyn

  18. Michele Brickhouse 01/05/2012 at 5:39 pm

    I would love to have this book. This could be a great addition to my classroom.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:49 pm

      I agree! Good luck to you! Carolyn

  19. CoraLee Ott 01/05/2012 at 5:28 pm

    This book sounds gread! I’d love to win a copy!

    • CoraLee Ott 01/05/2012 at 5:29 pm

      Haha. Long day – can’t spell. This book sounds great!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:49 pm

      Good luck to you! 🙂 Carolyn

  20. Lisa Thompson 01/05/2012 at 5:22 pm

    I LOVE LAURA….and everything she does on behalf of students and teachers. I’d love to have her work….in my classroom!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:48 pm

      Isn’t she wonderful? Good luck, Carolyn

  21. Nancy 01/05/2012 at 4:30 pm

    Wow! This sounds like an awesome book. I am struggling with Guided Reading/Reading Workshop with my kinders (11 of which have ieps). I can use all of the new tricks I can get!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:47 pm

      Oh, Nancy, good luck to you! Carolyn

  22. Tracy Mc 01/05/2012 at 4:13 pm

    This sounds like just what I’ve been looking for. We have 9 brand new teachers this year and we’ve been looking for something like this to help them (and those of use that have been around a while but can always use improvement!) There are so many things out there full of theory. We get the theory, but we need practical resources and ideas to help get our students where they need to be. Thanks for all of the great resources you have out there. Looks like this might be another great one!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:48 pm

      Yes, I agree. All of those theory books are frustrating to new teachers, and even experienced ones who would like to not have to think so hard about everything. This book is extremely helpful. Carolyn

  23. Diana Newton 01/05/2012 at 4:11 pm

    I am a bit muddled about Reader’s Workshop and how to make all the components blend together. The book sounds like it would be extrememly helpful.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:51 pm

      This book really does have the answers. Laura worked on it over 30 years and it is field tested by many other teachers. Laura refined everything over and over. It is perfect! Good luck, Carolyn

  24. Stacey Driscoll 01/05/2012 at 4:11 pm

    This book definitely sounds like something I can put to great use! I would love a copy of it for myself and would share it with my colleagues. Thank you for such a great share!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:52 pm

      Yes, it could be shared with colleagues, but also with subs. It makes every teacher’s life easier. Good luck! Carolyn

  25. laura r. 01/05/2012 at 4:04 pm

    Sounds like a very helpful guide! Can’t wait to read it!

  26. Brian H. 01/04/2012 at 7:52 pm

    Being a sub this would have helped me out greatly a few times where I was expected to run a reading group with no explanation and even once with no books handed to me! As an experienced teacher who will hopefully have a new job soon, I think this book sounds like a power easy to use program that would save me loads of planning time!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:53 pm

      Yes, subs would find this book very helpful. Really! Good luck, Carolyn

  27. Susie McCreery 01/04/2012 at 3:57 pm

    This year I will be teaching 9/10/11 year olds in New Zealand. Do you think this book will be useful for me? Does it relate to particular texts?

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 9:46 am

      Yes, this book would greatly help any teacher. Certain books are suggested (options are given, not just one title), but you could use this resource with any books your students read. That is the point of the book! Carolyn

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:54 pm

      Oh, I thought I replied to you. This book suggests titles (providing options) but works with any books, that is the point! Good luck, Carolyn

  28. Sheila Kennedy 01/02/2012 at 10:34 pm

    I can not wait to get my hands on this book…it sounds like a dream!! Thank you for sharing such wonderful, useful & helpful ideas!

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:55 pm

      Good luck! I guess I’d better add a date for the random number generator! Good luck, Carolyn

  29. Laurie 01/02/2012 at 6:04 pm

    I would love to use this book in my classroom

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 01/05/2012 at 7:55 pm

      Laurie, yes, you would! Thanks and good luck to you. Carolyn

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