The Workshop Model
Setting aside predictable time for writing and reading every day is important and essential in a balanced literacy curriculum. Perhaps most importantly, workshop teaching - whether reading workshops, writing workshops, or math workshops are designed to provide learners with long stretches of time to carry on with some independence. In daily reading and writing workshops, students are explicitly taught how to become proficient readers and writers. The reading and writing workshop approach helps build a community of readers and writers through teacher support, collaboration with peers and opportunities for independent reading and writing. In addition, the workshop approach helps teachers address the needs of students by organizing them into flexible groups as well as working with them individually. Finally, reading and writing workshops provide students with good literacy habits by engaging them in meaningful literacy activities that help to develop their literacy skills.
Not only is it important that reading and writing have a predictable place in the schedule so that students anticipate and plan for it, it is also important that the workshop itself have a simple structure. Although there are variations to the workshop structure, the basic components include the following: the minilesson, independent and small group practice, conferring, mid-workshop interruption and share session.
Calkins, L., (1986). The Art of Teaching Writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.