New Teacher (comment #82),
I understand your challenge! When I first started implementing a reading workshop in my own classroom, I was the only teacher doing it. I too faced questions from my fellow colleagues about this "different" approach and how it would truly prepare my students for standardized tests. I knew that a reading workshop approach to teaching reading was by far the best way to turn my students into authentic readers. Giving them book choice, time to read and practice the strategies I was teaching in books at their own level seemed to me to be the only way to conduct an effective reading program in my classroom. Here is a great article that supports the fact that a reading workshop not only effectively prepares students for standardized testing, but it truly enables students to practice authentic reading and writing for sustained periods of time while honing the skills that will make them lifelong readers. Here is a link to the article: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4009/is_200804/ai_n25420672/
You also mentioned that you are finding it hard to implement a reading workshop with a limited amount of books and materials for guided reading. If you check out my classroom library post, you will find a variety of inexpensive ways to collect more books for your clasroom library. Here is a link to that post: http://blogs.scholastic.com/top_teaching/2009/10/classlibrary.html
In terms of collecting more books for guided reading, grant writing is a great way to get more money for reading workshop materials! There are usually district foundations of education that will fund projects. Also, national sites such as Donors Choose can help out as well. If your principal is on board, you may also be able to talk him or her into purchasing sets of guided reading books that can be shared by all teachers at your school. Here is a link to Scholastic's awesome guided reading materials: http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/guidedreading/
They have very extensive collections of both fiction and nonfiction book sets available to purchase at very competitive prices!
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