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Readers' and Writers' Workshop

Emery's Readers' and Writers' Workshop is a world-class program that instills the advanced skills of reading comprehension and written expression across all grade levels.

A number of Emery's teachers traveled to Columbia University in New York to work with the best in the country to develop this program. Other than taking a quick break for a slice of New York-style pizza, these teachers spent long days learning strategies for developing great writers and empassioned readers and then teaching these strategies to the rest of the Emery staff. Now, they support their colleagues in the classroom to help model and coach. With Readers' and Writers' Workshop, students learn by reading and writing about topics that are interesting and personal to them, and they discover that being a great writer means being a great reader. When writing a narrative, for example, students read other "mentor text" narratives and look at particular expert strategies. When writing an informational piece, students look at model nonfiction samples to understand different structures and approaches, and then they write their own informational pieces about a topic of interest. For any given strategy, students study the way other authors have applied it, and then they themselves apply it in their own writing. This approach requires classroom libraries that represent a rich range of levels, styles, and topics, and students have their own book bins that include both current reading material and "dessert" reading for fun. The students also have one-on-one conferences with the teacher about their books and their writing, as well as particular goals or strategies for their next writing piece.