Both reading and writing workshop follow a similar structure, beginning with a mini-lesson that engages students in the learning of the day, provides a model of a new reading or writing strategy, allows students to practice the new strategy with a shared text, and sets students up to be successful for the rest of the workshop. During the application time, students may be found independently applying a strategy that has been taught in the current or a previous mini-lesson, working one-on-one or in a small group with the teacher, or collaborating with peers to improve their work. The workshop ends with a share time that allows students to reflect on their learning for the day and share out how they applied a strategy to their own work. In addition to this, students regularly listen to read-alouds so that those shared reading experiences can be referenced during the workshop mini-lesson. Explicit word work instruction is also delivered outside of the workshop.
This model follows what research has found to be best practices in literacy instruction. Workshop nurtures literacy motivation by integrating choice and collaboration into literacy tasks; provides students with opportunities to engage with texts across a wide range of genres; allows students to develop their literacy skills with appropriately leveled texts; balances teacher- and student-led discussions; and promotes literacy independence by providing time to self-selected reading and writing (Gambrell, Malloy, Marinak, & Mazzoni, 2015). This instructional model also allows teachers to meet the needs of more students due to the differentiation that occurs throughout workshop.
Gambrell, L. B., Malloy, J. A., Marinak, B. A., & Mazzoni, S. A. (2015). Evidence-based best practices for comprehensive literacy instruction in the age of the common core standards. In L. B. Gambrell, & L. M. Morrow (Eds.), Best Practices in Literacy In Literacy Instruction (Vol. 5, pp. 3–36). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.