Secondary Literacy Resources

6-12 Instructional Frameworks

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6-12 Reading Continuum

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6-12 Writing Continuum

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6-12 Classroom Library Recommendations

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Readers/Writers Workshop

The process of developing vibrant, enduring literacies that continue to grow in strength and complexity in response to changing demands is exceedingly complex. Instructional designs that support this complex development must provide a context for rich, rigorous and relevant engagement in a broad range of reading, writing and learning experiences that position students as confident and resilient lifelong learners.

 

A long history of research in reading, writing and adolescent literacy concludes that readers and writers at all stages of development need access to:

  • Time for reading, writing and learning
  • Texts of all kinds and rich resources for reading
  • Knowledgeable and supportive teachers who understand literacy processes
  • Opportunities to read, write and think about topics and ideas of importance to them
  • Appropriate instruction in skills and strategies
  • Demonstrations of how readers, writers and texts work
  • Other readers, both novice and expert, with whom to share questions and ideas
  • Support for their own reading and writing processes
  • (adapted from Braunger & Lewis, Building a Knowledge Base in Reading, 141)

The Readers/Writers Workshop organizes instructional time and content within the curriculum priorities to ensure that students have extended periods of time for reading, writing and talking about their learning. The workshop uses a mixture of whole-class, small group, partner and one-on-one instruction that centers on meaningful dialogue about reading, writing, responding to ideas, strategies for making meaning and opportunities for independent practice.

 

Characteristics of Readers/Writers Workshop

  • The workshop approach helps teachers organize their classrooms, resources and instructional time to teach effective reading, writing and learning strategies and to help students put them into practice.
  • The most important goal of this approach is the development of independent learners who are equipped with the skills and knowledge they will need for a lifetime of learning.
  • The workshop approach derives from the insight that people learn best by doing and that teachers often need to provide students with more time and varied opportunities to read, write and use effective learning strategies to explore and understand the content they are studying.
  • The approach also reflects the insight that adolescents need to share in the ownership of the curriculum to increase their investment, engagement and motivation. Students have choice in the selection of books for independent reading and writing activities as they explore, read and write about topics and ideas of importance to them in addition to the curriculum priorities.
  • Rigor and acceleration in workshop instruction is personalized and precise because teachers gain deep knowledge of students’ growth as readers and writers, and they are able to provide instruction that is responsive to student need. As a result, this approach also minimizes the impact of mobility.
  • (adapted from “Teaching and Learning in Boston Public Schools”)