Coaching Reading Workshop

Use the following resources as you work with teachers to enhance and grow Reading Workshop in their classrooms.

Coaching Conversation Starters

Reflective practitioners think deeply about their instruction — the content, the implementation, as well as evidence of children’s learning and engagement. Use these questions to guide your conversations with a teacher before and after a Reading Workshop lesson to enhance the lesson and help grow a teacher’s practice.

Lesson Planning

  1. What is your primary objective for this lesson? Why did you choose this objective?

  2. What language supports have been considered to meet the primary content literacy objective? Where in your lesson will you add and reinforce them?

  3. How will we connect this objective to the other learning that has been going on in the workshop?

  4. How will we explain this objective in words that help children to grasp the meaning?

  5. How will you layer productive language outcomes alongside content objective?

  6. How will we convince children that this strategy or skill will help them as readers, building engagement and motivation?

  7. What text best matches the primary literacy objective? How will you share the text—by reading aloud an excerpt from a familiar book or a big book, charting the desired passages, or displaying them on the SMART board?

  8. Does this text reflect culturally responsive support structures you have put in place in the classroom?

  9. How will you demonstrate or model your own use of this skill or strategy for children to see before they attempt to use it? Will you create or review an anchor chart?

  10. Which pages or passages will you read? How will you “think aloud” to help children hear what the process is like “inside your head” as the most skilled reader in the room when you use this strategy?

  11. How will you give children an opportunity to try this strategy while they are still with you as a group on the carpet, so that you can assess whether or not they have understood so far?

  12. What will you say to prepare children for using this strategy before sending them off to Independent Work Time so that they are as successful as possible?

  13. Will you teach or review any routines at the beginning or end of the mini-lesson to help children take care of themselves, each other, or the classroom during workshop?

  14. How do you support children to settle in to independent reading prior to beginning your conferences?

  15. How do you decide with whom to confer during Independent Work Time?

  16. How and where will you take notes as you confer with each child?

  17. Will you be pulling any small groups during reading time? What will be your criterion for small group instruction?

  18. How will you celebrate the work that children are doing during the share time at the end of the workshop?

  19. What meaningful feedback will be required in order to help children continue to grow with the new strategy provided in the mini-lesson?

  20. How will you reinforce the teaching point and language expectations at the end of the workshop to support children’s understanding and ensure on-going learning around this primary literacy objective?

Reflection & Action Planning

  1. What do you think the children learned during the lesson? How do you know?

  2. What language can your children now produce as a result of the lesson?

  3. Did your demonstration help the children understand how to use the skill or strategy?

  4. Did you notice any children struggling during the have-a-go?

  5. Did the supports you provided throughout the lesson prove useful?

  6. What do you anticipate your children will need next?

  7. What did you notice about individual children as you conferenced with them?

  8. How did you decide on your teaching points during your conferences? What language considerations did you decide to highlight and why?

  9. How is your record keeping system working out? Is it helping to inform your reading conferences?

  10. Are you noticing any shared needs among children that may require small group work?

  11. Do you think your children are struggling with the particular strategy addressed in the mini-lesson or is the challenge around the language needed in order to be successful with the strategy?

  12. What did you learn about your children as a result of this lesson? How will this inform future workshop lessons?

  13. How can you connect the learning in this lesson to other areas of your literacy block?

  14. Reflect on the classroom culture during the lesson. Were the children taking care of themselves and others in the classroom while you met with this group? Are there any new procedures or anchor charts that you need to review in order to help the rest of the class work independently?

Viewing Lenses

When you are observing a teacher there are several different viewing lenses you might choose to focus your observation and post-lesson conversations. Here are some ideas for viewing lenses.

Focus Question What to Note

How does the teacher present the mini-lesson for maximal effectiveness?

  • Are children excited and happy when the teacher calls them to the large group meeting area for the mini-lesson?
  • Have routines related to the mini-lesson become natural for children, minimizing interruptions and making the lesson run smoothly?
  • Does the teacher review any necessary routines to help children take care of themselves, each other, and the classroom for the entirety of the workshop?
  • What exact language is used to engage children and connect the primary literacy objective to prior learning?
  • What language supports does the teacher offer so that ELL children can participate and learn?
  • How does the teacher show children what the use of this strategy looks like in action?
  • How does the teacher give children an opportunity to practice the strategy before they try it on their own?
  • How does the teacher explain when and how children will apply the teaching point in their independent reading?
  • How many minutes does the mini-lesson take? Is it less than 15 minutes?
  • Has the teacher clearly articulated the content expectation for the lesson? And the language children are expected to use?
  • Before the teacher moves the children to independent reading, what expectations have been stated to ensure they are successful with the learning established in the mini-lesson?

How does the teacher set children up for success during Independent Work Time?

  • How well do children transition from the mini-lesson to independent reading?
  • What procedures seem to have been taught and practiced to support children’s independence?
  • Did the teacher articulate explicit expectations for the transition? For work time?
  • How many minutes can children stay focused on their reading?
  • What anchor charts are referred to by the teacher and/or children to support their self-regulation and reading growth? What other visual supports, graphics, or tools has the teacher provided?
  • How do children solve any problems that arise?
  • What do children do when they are done with a book?
  • How does the teacher incorporate talk into work time?
  • How does the teacher promote active engagement in reading?
  • What evidence is there that the children are using the information they learned in the mini-lesson?
  • What informal and formal measures does the teacher use to track children’s strengths and needs as independent learners?
  • How much time do children have to work independently?

How does the teacher work with individuals and small groups?

  • How does the teacher select children with whom to confer?
  • Do the children enjoy and fully participate in the conferences?
  • How are conferences differentiated to meet the needs of each reader?
  • Are the conferences intentional in addressing specific targeted literacy and language needs?
  • How does the teacher record notes for each conference?
  • How much time does each conference take?
  • Does the teacher touch base with other children as well?
  • Does the teacher call together small groups of children with similar interests and needs?
  • What evidence is there that the children are using the information from this day’s mini-lessons or other mini-lessons?

How does the teacher celebrate children’s learning during share time?

  • Are children brought together again to reflect on their learning?
  • Can the children articulate their learning?
  • Do children encourage each other and share a sense of joy about their independent reading?
  • Does the share time reinforce the day’s mini-lesson or previous mini-lessons? Does the teacher reinforce the content objective and language expectations?
  • How are children’s speaking and listening skills developed during this time?

How did the teacher work to help children take care of themselves and each other during the lesson?

  • Did the teacher give explicit instruction around classroom culture?
  • Did the teacher use language around Power of Three?
  • Were there references to procedures and procedural anchor charts?
  • Did the teacher offer language supports for children to be successful with classroom culture expectations?
  • Did the teacher use specific encouragement? Was there meaningful feedback?
  • Did children resolve their issues with minimal teacher intervention? What visual cues and or language supports are provided to help children problem solve?
  • How did the teacher intervene when issues arose?

Descriptors for Early Literacy Teacher Achievement (DELTA)

This resource describes key elements of effective practice in an early literacy classroom. It is a valuable coaching tool because it standardizes expectations around different practices. Use the DELTA to set goals with teachers and guide implementation.

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