As I mentioned, TCRWP inspired me to use them. They come in very handy in the first-grade reading unit, Word Detectives, which I just finished teaching and would highly recommend. Now the flashlights come out every Friday during reading workshop. As one can imagine, they're a hit.
And because I own a soap box about most things educational, I have to say something about reading workshop. To my knowledge, there aren't many basal teacher's manuals that:
- stress or make time for independent reading.
- recommend children have their own baskets or boxes full of books.
- plan for teachers to sit down in a community space with the children at their feet and teach a short mini-lesson on how to be a better reader before sending the children off to read by themselves.
- Every. Single. Day.
I'm going to refrain from quoting all the gurus who explain why daily independent reading is a game changer. Instead I'm here to say, whether the basal says to or not, every child in every elementary classroom should experience a reading workshop every day. Period. Yeah, hang around me long enough and you'll know I'm not a basal fan, but this post isn't about bashing basals (at least not this time). Instead I'm calling all teachers to know what's best for readers and make instructional decisions based on them. Manipulate the basal to fit what's best for kids, not the other way around.