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Developing Independent Learners: A Reading/Writing Workshop Approach

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Catalogue Number:  000116
Producer:  Stenhouse Publishers
Subject:  Professional Development
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Educators
Country Of Origin:  U.S.
Copyright Year:  2003
Running Time:  34:35


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The goal of teaching is to promote independent learning so reading and writing becomes a lifelong habit. As children become better readers, they also become better writers. A workshop format provides a literacy context for building connections between the reading and writing processes. In this two-part video series, Donnie Skinner and Vicki Altland demonstrate how they implemented reading and writing workshops in two Arkansas schools.

Program 1: Exploring Literature in Third Grade

In the first program, Donnie Skinner and third-grade students at Boone Park Elementary in North Little Rock, Arkansas, explore how literature is used to promote deeper comprehension during reading and writing workshops. The first part of the program demonstrates the components of writing workshop, including a mini-lesson for crafting a good lead, independent practice, and writing conferences. The second part of the tape illustrates the components of reading workshop, including a mini-lesson for teaching a visualization strategy, independent practice, reading conferences, and a literature discussion group. The features of the workshop include: guided demonstrations and think-aloud;guided practice with teacher assistance;independent practice with teacher and peer conferences;language interactions that promote deeper comprehension.

Program 2: Conducting Research in First Grade

In the second program, Vicki Altland and her first graders at Ida Burns Elementary in Conway, Arkansas, use a workshop approach to conduct research with nonfiction texts. Vicki scaffolds her first graders as they apply a ten-step process for conducting research, including choosing a topic, gathering materials, organizing information, and publishing the results. The features of the workshop include:mini-lesson with guided practice;group work with teacher conferences;group sharing with teacher assessment.

About the Authors

Linda Dorn is a professor of reading education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she is the director of the UALR Center for Literacy. She teaches graduate classes in literacy theory, research, classroom practice, and literacy leadership.

Carla is a literacy specialist with the Arkansas Department of Education. She has twenty-one years of experience in education, including teaching in the primary grades and Literacy Coaching.
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