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Lesson Plan

9th Grade Independent Reading Workshop


English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)

Grade Levels

Commencement, 9th Grade


Introduction: The following is not to be viewed as a one-day lesson plan. It provides an outline for reading workshop and guided sheets (see attachments) for students and teachers to use while incorporating an independent reading workshop. Reading Workshop should run throughout the school year and the purpose should be to create an enjoyment of reading without too much stress on grades. As most research shows, students can only improve reading if they are reading more. This allows students the time to read what they are interested in while also providing the teacher with direct, formative assessment on comprehension.

Before Implementing Independent Reading: Modeling

Read a high-interest novel with the class in which journal entries that encourage discussion and review of the text are incorporated

1. Use think-alouds to demonstrate what types of questions and strategies ‘good’ readers employ (visualizing, vocabulary in context, questioning the author/characters)

Example of Read Aloud:

While reading and exploring the control present in The Giver community, a teacher may say (while reading!), “I can’t believe this community doesn’t allow the adults to choose their spouses. On the other hand, I guess this does reduce heartache and divorce…” The teacher may choose to go back and explore some of these reading 'pauses' for discussion at the conclusion of the day's reading

2. Model a creative response: make copies of a poem/song lyrics/artwork that connects to a theme or idea in the class novel and explain the connection.

Before Implementing Independent Reading: Book Shares & Library Day

Note: Many teachers make the mistake, myself included, of requiring students to pick a book and just read it with little guidance as to how to pick a book. This is what I use in my classroom to build up the momentum:

1. Ask the school librarian to choose a wide-variety of books--non-fiction, fantasy, science-fiction, realistic fiction, new books, and classics--and present 'book talks' about each book

2. In your classroom, ask students that you know are readers (even if lower-level!) to share his/her favorite book (ask students to do this ahead of time so they have time to think about what to say) with the class--tell them their job is to persuade the class to read the book they chose

3. Ask students to review/rate favorite books and type this list up, or at least keep on hand when helping another student choose a book

4. Be relaxed! Allow students to switch books (early on) s/he does not care for!

5. Look up book reviews on credible websites (www.ala.org, www.amazon.com)

Reading Workshop: Introduction

1. Introduce how reading workshop will work--how much time in class will be allotted to reading, what happens if school is cancelled, whether or not you will allow students to split longer books into two books, etc..

2. Make transparencies of "Book Nook" forms, rubric, and permission slip and explain

Reading Workshop: During

1. Each "Read Day", take a 'status of the class' (see Nancie Atwell's In The Middle ). Once students are settled in, move around the room and ask each student which page s/he is on and record it on the class record sheet

2. After the "Status of the Class," conference with students (You should conference with each student about once per month--for me, this means talking with 5 students a class. Some teachers conduct these conferences after school and during advisement in order to provide as much reading time as possible in class). The purpose of this conference, for me, is:

-provide students with a chance to share his/her book

-discover if student needs assistance understanding the basic plot

-assist student with 'book nook' form and creative response piece (students may need internet access for this piece)

-check to see if the student is reading

To do this, you need to:

-ask the student what the best/worst part of the book is so far...

-open to a random page that the student already read and ask him/her to explain what was going on

-ask if s/he would recommend the book to a friend and why

Reading Workshop: After

1. Provide time for students (whom are interested) to share "Creative Responses" in small groups

2. Provide time for students to share books they read with the class

3. Ask for ideas on how to better reading workshop

4. Consider "raising the bar" and requiring dialogue journals in place of the forms (or in addition to) or requiring students to present creative responses--exercise caution here because the point of this ongoing, year-long workshop is to increase reading and the enjoyment thereof--not to implement a project for a grade

Reading Workshop: Extension Activities

*Schedule an author visit for books that several students are reading by same author

*Ask students to make promotional posters for books and hang around the school

*Run a "Top Reader" program and reward students who are regularly reading a pizza party or candy (i.e. students who are going above and beyond requirements)

*Presentation of books to other grades

*Author letters

*Student websites—book reviews, audio readings of connection pieces (you could use audacity.com to do this for free!)


Book Nook Forms
Independent Reading Grading Rubric
Independent Reading Permission Slip

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