Creating Independent Readers and Learners
This school year, a reading workshop was added to the sixth-grade English Language Arts curriculum. According to Sheryl Goffman, Rye City School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, the workshop is designed to “focus on improving reading efficiency through students’ increased understanding of how to construct meaning from narrative and expository literature.”
One of the main strengths of the program is the freedom of self-selection. It’s a tailored learning environment, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach with the goal of developing interested readers and critical thinkers. Once students have selected their texts, the teacher gives the group a focused and short lesson on strategies to help them analyze the reading material. From there, the students apply the lessons to their own texts.
The format of the new curriculum follows the Columbia University Teacher College reading workshop model currently being implemented in the elementary schools. Students work in small groups and with partners and they’re encouraged to work together in an interactive way.
- Annette McLoughlin