First Week of Reading Workshop


Whenever I thought about starting reading workshop, I felt so overwhelmed!

What should I teach first? 
How do I get the kids into a routine? 
When do I give them partners? 
Where should they sit?

If you're feeling overwhelmed too, it's okay! You can set up routines and expectations that will help you make the most of reading workshop all year! I am sharing all of my lesson plans with you so you can see exactly how the first week of reading workshop looks in my classroom!

I devote the first week of school to getting "Ready to Read." I use this time to teach exactly what reading workshop looks like in our classroom. Even if my kids are familiar with reading workshop, it's a great way to introduce your expectations and routines. If you have any kiddos who are new to a workshop model, this week is perfect for them!

Here are the lessons I cover:
  • Readers choose a smart spot to read their books
  • Readers do their best to always do real reading
  • Readers share their books with partners
  • Readers use mats to plan and track their reading
  • Readers know that reading is important 

Building enthusiasm and excitement for reading is just as important as the lessons! I squeeze lots of fun reading activities into the week so kids see how much fun reading can be! I also use this week to learn about each of my readers!

Our absolute favorite read aloud for the week is Madeline Finn and the Library Dog. You can read it aloud or watch it on youtube. Madeline Finn is a very reluctant reader who adamantly says she doesn't like to read. When she meets Bonnie, a dog at the library, everything changes! Kids love the surprise ending and sweet characters!


We even make our own reading dogs so everyone has a mascot for reading! At the end of the week, these sweet pups go home to encourage students to keep reading! You can read about all the details in my lesson plans. 


Here are some of our other favorite activities from the first week!

We sort Real Reading and Fake Reading so kids know exactly what they should or should not be doing during reading workshop. You can make your own cards or print pre-made cards. You can always add something that's specific to your class. Notice that I added a "When is lunch?" card because we did reading workshop right before lunch last year.


We also learn how to use reading mats this week. In my lesson connection, I tell a story about going to yoga class without a yoga mat. I explain that even yoga teachers and experts use a mat to help them do their best. Readers can use reading mats to help them do their best.



The first week is a great time to introduce partner routines. It's an awesome way to establish a community of readers who help each other! We do fun activities to build teamwork and celebrate successful partners too! You might be able to assign permanent partners or just use temporary partners.


If you're ready to start reading workshop for the first time or just looking for a new way to roll it out this year, you can download all of my lesson plans for the first week. Your students are lucky to have a teacher who works so hard to build establish routines that will make everyone successful this year! If you have more ideas about starting reading workshop, please share them in comments!


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