Laura Candler's Power Reading Workshop

"As you implement the Power Reading Tools and students accept more responsibility for becoming better readers, reading instruction in your classroom will become student-centered rather than teacher-centered. You'll become a reading coach instead of a reading teacher. in so doing, you'll empower your students to love reading and to grow as readers."
                                                                   -Laura Candler

When I taught reading, I usually used novels. There were two or three ability-based reading groups each reading a different book. While this was a huge improvement over a basal text, it was a great deal of work for me and did not really meet the needs of all of my students - especially in terms of individual interests and learning styles. What I needed, what I would have loved, what my students would have loved, is Laura Candler's Power Reading Workshop. Laura's program offers a truly differentiated and highly motivating way to teach reading. In my opinion, this is THE way to teach reading to students in grades 2-6.

The Basics
 The core of the program is made up of five components:
  • Whole class read alouds
  • Strategy mini-lessons
  • Self-selected reading time
  • Individual reading conferences
  • Response to reading
A Power Reading Workshop session is designed to last about an hour and typically begins with a whole class read aloud and a targeted mini-lesson. Students are then free to read their own self-selected material and to apply what they learned in the mini-lesson to their own reading. During this time the teacher meets individually with students for short reading conferences. In addition there are twelve Power Reading Tools that can be added to the basic program which include several different response to reading strategies.

The Book
What I love about Laura's book is how she gives you everything you need to put this program into action.  Power Reading Workshop includes an easy to follow, step-by-step guide for the first ten days of the program - including teaching instructions, recommendations for read aloud books and printable versions of everything your students will need. Once you have completed your first two weeks, you should have no problem continuing on your own, especially since Laura gives you many more tools and ideas.

In the second part of the book, Laura details twelve Power Reading Tools that you can use with the workshop. Not only does she tell you how to use each of these tools, she also supplies printable versions of  the needed forms and handouts. Some of the areas Power Reading Tools focus on include goal setting, response to reading, group reading discussions, exploring different reading genres, and self-assessment. You can add these tools one at a time as your students are ready for them. 

Another feature in this book that I really appreciate is the "Laura's Tips" sidebars that appear frequently throughout the book. These little tidbits are really helpful for managing the program and making everything run smoothly. 

You can  hear Laura explain why she wrote Power Reading Workshop in her own words in this short video. 

As I am sure you can tell, I highly recommend this book. I can think of no better way to instill a love of reading in your students. One of my early mentor's credos for teaching was, "Freedom within Structure." That is what this program is. The freedom to self-select reading materials empowers students to take responsibility for their reading while the structure ensures they are learning required concepts (such as common core standards) and holds them accountable.

You can see twenty more enthusiastic reviews for this book right here on Amazon. But if you want to buy it, be sure to go to Laura's site because if you buy the book there and sign up for her free weekly newsletter Candler's Classroom Connections, you get the digital version for free!

1 comment:

Wise Owl Factory said...

Thank you so much for a clear explanation of this book. This books sounds clear and helpful. I really like freedom within structure! Carolyn Wilhelm

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