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Reading workshops: Realizing the potential

5 June 1997


Abstract The purpose of this research was to examine the implementation of reading workshop into a specific classroom. I was interested to see how such a model functioned for the students and teacher and what kind of environment could be created. I was curious to try to understand where such a model fit in to our current educational needs and goals to stimulate students' thinking and encourage them to become independent learners. I based my study on previous research focusing on a background of Dewey's. experience based education philosophy, social constructivism, whole language and various workshop models. My study took place in an eighth grade classroom at a suburban middle school. This was a qualitative study with a descriptive component. I observed the students during reading workshop, read their response journals, surveyed students on their thoughts and feelings towards the program, and interviewed the teacher for her opinion. I concluded that reading workshop has the potential to engage students and encourage their active involvement in their education. The manner in which the program is implemented, however, is critical in its success. The structure, expectations, attitudes projected and atmosphere created are essential for it to be successful. When poorly implemented reading workshop can be seen as a misleading, confusing, waste of precious learning time. From the data I collected, I concluded that in this particular classroom the attempt to include a workshop based program in a strongly traditional classroom was ineffective.


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