Understanding and Implementing Readers and Writers Workshop

Workshop Overview

Readers and Writers Workshop is a teaching methodology used to teach students to engage in authentic literacy experiences. This immersive 4 day workshop is designed to empower educators working with students in Grades 2 to 8, equipping them with the knowledge, strategies, and practical tools needed to foster a lifelong love of reading and writing to enhance overall literacy outcomes.

During Day 1, we will unpack the workshop model and the rationale for designing and implementing learning in this way. After that, we will take a deep dive into the latest research on reading comprehension and explore the cognitive processes that underpin it. Participants will gain a deep understanding of the seven critical comprehension skills that students need to become proficient readers. There will be an opportunity to develop a toolkit of techniques to support students at different skill levels, ensuring no reader is left behind.

On Day 2, the first half of the day will focus on implementing a reading workshop. Participants will go through various mini lessons for each part of a reading workshop, seeing how certain reading strategies develop common skills throughout a unit. There will be an emphasis on understanding the structure of the reading workshop and an opportunity to design a grade level specific mini lesson to be used as an immediate practice opportunity in one’s classroom. Time permitting, we will also jump into structures to enhance your reading workshop including interactive read-aloud, classroom set-up, and book clubs.

On Day 3, the focus will shift to the Writers workshop. Participants will do an inquiry into each text type, looking closely at how the structure, development and conventions of a text can be used to construct teaching points for a unit. Halfway through the session, participants will be introduced to the various stages of the writing process and given specific examples of mini lessons for different genres of writing. By the end of Day 3, teachers will feel more prepared to launch the first few weeks of a writers workshop unit.

Finally, on Day 4, participants will continue to participate in mini lessons at various stages of the writing process. Inquiry is a critical component of most educators repertoire in which ase, teachers will learn how to use language that fosters inquiry and critical thinking during mini lessons, creating a dynamic and interactive learning environment. Students will also participate in a revision lesson and make connections to how a similar revision may look across different genres. For the remainder of this session, participants will have the opportunity to create their own mini lesson with guidance from the instructor, ensuring their lessons are engaging, purposeful and aligned with the workshop model principles. The final session will also include an opportunity for participants to seek clarification, share insights and reflect on their learning journey.



Heather Onderick

Heather Onderick has over 20 years experience in the classroom and as a learning leader. She has worked to design learning rooted in the American, Singaporean, Ontario standards and also with the Common Ground Collaborative framework. She has worked as an ELL teacher, an elementary classroom teacher and middle school Humanities teacher. Heather’s areas of expertise include universal design for learning, concept driven curricular design, student centered coaching, and reading and writing workshop.

Intrigued by the power of Generative AI, Heather has taken numerous workshops and courses on AI for educators. In the summer of 2023, she spent 6 weeks writing a research paper and doing a deep dive on harnessing the power of AI in the classroom. Since then, Heather has been proactive in working with her teachers to enhance their learning design with AI as an assistant.