For The Love of Reading
Many teachers have expressed how difficult it is to teach writing in an already jammed packed school day. This problem can be easily solved by integrating both reading and writing.

Must have books for teaching both reading and writing.



First, set up a Reader’s Workshop. Similar to Writer’s Workshop, Reader’s Workshop is a model for teaching students strategies for reading comprehension.

Reader’s Workshop looks like this:

  • Mini Lesson – Teach a reading skill or strategy. Tie this in with the writing skill/strategy you will be teaching. It could be the same.

  • Independent Reading  Students read books on their just right reading level. They may keep a reading log to record the books they read. They may also keep a journal to write about what they read. During this time, the teacher meets with guided reading groups to monitor and assess student reading.

  • Share – A peer or teacher may respond to their journal entries. (Sample Reader’s Workshop Journal letter). I took 5 notebooks home each night to respond to all of my students’ journal entries in one week.

Here’s a guide for Setting up Reader’s Workshop.

Collect mentor texts to teach reading and writing skills and strategies. This could be the book you will read that is part of your daily reading instruction.

Here is a great list of Mentor Texts to support Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop.

Decide what reading and writing skills you will be integrating while teaching.

Encourage students to think like readers and writers. Before the mini lesson, tell students to think about what they learned from the author that they will try in their own reading and writing today/this week. This is a perfect way to set and track reading and writing goals.

Balanced Literacy
is a framework that gives equal attention to both reading and writing instruction. It combines Reader’s Workshop, Writer’s Workshop and Word Work. This type of framework helps with managing time for a busy teacher in a busy classroom.


Shared Reading– Interactive reading of a text shared by students supported by the teacher.

Modeled Reading– Similar to Think Aloud, the teacher models a reading strategy aloud to the students.

Guided Reading– Small group, differentiated instruction that focuses on a reading strategy or skill.

Independent Reading– Students independently read just right books with little or no assistance from the teacher.

Teach students how to be independent readers by choosing just right book and use post it notes to mark their best thinking while reading.


Shared Writing – The teacher and students write together. The students give thoughts and ideas and the teacher scribes it.

Interactive Writing – Students write together with the support of the teacher, “sharing the pen.”

Guided Writing – Small, group lessons and activities to support students in writing instruction.

Independent Writing – Students write independently for varying purposes in different genres.

Student centered activities that reinforce and strengthen word skills

Check out the book, The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy in the Elementary Grades– A series of literacy tasks

1. Read to Self

2. Read with Someone

3. Word Work

4. Listen to Reading

5. Read with a Teacher

Try this for setting up a Balanced Literacy Block in your classroom.

One way to encourage a love of reading, and for students to engage in critical thinking and discussion skills is for students to be part of a literature circle, or a book club. Students are assigned reading, a role (lit_circles.role_sheets) and then meet with a small group of peers to have meaningful discussions about characters, themes, plot, connections, questions, and big ideas in the book. The group is mainly run by the students, but the teacher may act as a facilitator to guide the group if needed, particularly with younger grades with students still developing in their discussion and thinking skills.

Check out Literature Circles Resource Center for more resources on Literature Circles.


Mini Lesson Format (Suggested lesson time: 15-20 minutes)

  • Teacher models the thinking s/he does when reading

  • Use pre-selected points in text to model the thinking of good readers. (predict, visualize, make connections, ask questions, infer, restate/summarize, make and modify analogies, monitor for understanding)

  • To introduce the think-aloud concept, begin the first lesson by describing your thoughts while drawing a picture and/or writing a few sentences

  • Begin with a short text/ several pages of a story. Consider picking text that is above the level of the student and has engaging content. 

  • Decide on 1-3 strategies to model (number would depend on the grade level; see strategies listed above)

  • Tell students what strategy you’ll be modeling, why it’s useful for the text you’ll be reading; have students keep track of when you use the strategy as you model it’s use

    Plan on doing the lesson in three parts:

    1. Teacher does read-aloud think-aloud, students listen

    2. Teacher does read-aloud think-aloud, students help think-aloud (whole group, pairs)

    3. Teacher does read-aloud and pauses at pre-selected points, students write/draw their thinking, then discuss responses 


Balanced Literacy Diet: Students ask questions pertaining to a text before, during and after reading to build comprehension. For more information go to full lesson plan at…. Also go to for hundreds of additional free lesson plans and for virtual tours of classrooms.

GraphicOrganizersforReading– great resource for teaching and using reading strategies

Join the Reader’s Workshop Forum to share thoughts, ideas and comments.