The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 2 - Page 47

Katie Schieffer is a fourth grade teacher in Katy, Texas. She has been teaching for 5 years and has experience in first, second, and fourth grades. Katie passionately pursues creating a love of literacy in a rigorous learning environment for all students.

"It (also) benefits students to see and hear the teacher highlighting important data, skimming sections of the text, making connections to past experiences, and taking the time to pause and think about what is being read."

Figure 1 - Ryan's Pic Collage

Tamara Rhomberg, Glenda Nugent, and Dr. William Kerns presented the Missouri Read and Feed Project at the International Literacy Association Conference in Boston in July.


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disengaging and disassociate. During the years I had to fulfill mandated practice, I applied a primary-based workshop model to my intermediate classroom. I found the models to be appropriate for students who needed to build the capacity to read and acquire foundational skills, and for those who possessed shorter attention spans. I tried to follow the recommended time frames suggested by fellow practitioners (Athans & Devine, 2008; Dorn, 2005; Sibberson & Szymusiak, 2001), but to little avail. For example, it was recommended that assisted reading (known as guided reading by some practitioners) should span twenty minutes of the entire workshop. I had to ask myself, “I have to teach five groups of fifth-grade readers over the course of five twenty minutes sessions during a whole week?” I found that each group alone required fifteen minutes at minimum, meaning that I might be able to teach two groups in a single day. Truthfully, I had a group that required more scaffolding (often nurturing responsibility), which had to meet daily, or every other day. Other groups

deserved regular attention and affirmation.

I also found with a time crunch that all students had little time to authentically (or passionately) construct meaning with text. They spent more time reading than I did teaching them how to read because I could hardly keep up with providing adequate instructional time. I have always seemed to meet failure when trying to jam instructional components into prescribed time frames. Fisher and Frey (2016) explain time allotment in their reading workshop as, “The time recommendations…were based on professional judgment, given the consensus in the field and scarcity of evidence” (p. 540). I noticed students superficially performed tasks, investing less in the process, forsaking learning for completed tasks. I had to construct schedules and unit plans that would eliminate the confines of mandated time frames and allow for deeper thinking and learning over time.

To illustrate my reading workshop components to meet the needs of students, please consider the unit on the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs that I teach to sixth graders (figure 2).