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Launching Reading Workshop: 6 Favorite Mentor Text for Reading Routines

Launching reading workshop is all about setting up routines. And we all know, routines are so very important.  When beginning your reading workshop, modeling expectations is key to ensure that your workshop will run smoothly. 

Think about beginning of the year routines and procedures…it takes a while to model and teach those procedures, but soon they become habits and things just happen on their own.  The same goes for reading workshop! 

Model, model, model your expectations as you launch your reading workshop, slowly giving students more and more independence…and then right before your eyes, your reading workshop has turned into a well-oiled machine that can run itself! 

The predictability of a workshop model allows you to cater to the needs and goals of your students.  When your students have a consistent routine of reading each day, their reading, and their love for reading, will flourish. 

Setting up routines can be fun with some of your favorite picture books. Here are six of my very favorite books to help launch reading workshop.

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1. How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander

lesson for launching reading

“How to Read a Book” is such a fun book to get students talking about what and where they like to read. It is a great time to take a reading survey to get to know your students as readers as well as individuals. You can get to know their likes, dislikes, hobbies, strengths, and areas they would like to grow.

This will help you as you plan throughout the year as you choose books to read aloud, novels, small groups, and more.

2. Just Read by Lori Degman

Just Read” is a great book to discuss how important it is to just read during reading workshop. Reading will be done in different ways, with different texts to help students grow as readers.

reading books

This is a great time to discuss expectations during reading workshop. What are the expectations of the students, and what are the expectations of the teacher?

3. The Book of Gold by Bob Staake

If you've always wanted to find a book to help you discuss finding the perfect book, then “The Book of Gold” is what you've been looking for! Helping students find books, topics, and authors that they like and that are at their reading level is so important. It not only makes reading interesting for students, but it makes it enjoyable.

Just like Isaac in the book searches for a “book of gold,” students can search to find their own perfect books, and you'll be there to help them along the way!

launching reading book

You can help students determine how to find the perfect book and how to know if it is a good fit.

4. How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

How to Read a Story” is a perfect book to share when you are launching your reading workshop. You can discuss why, where, how, different ways to read, and what we do as readers.

You can model to students how we use strategies to grow as readers, constantly thinking, stopping to write questions and ideas, and thinking about a story deeply. We learn to love reading by using strategies we are taught, choosing books that we love, and asking for help when we need it.

how to read a story

This book is sure to help your students with their reading routines as they develop into lifelong readers.

5. The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

I just love everything Peter H. Reynolds creates and “The Word Collector” is no exception. It is such a fabulous book and a great way to discuss how readers collect new vocabulary every time they read. Your students are their own word collectors and each new book opens doors to words they've never known before.

word collector book

Practicing vocabulary helps improve comprehension, encourages deeper thinking, and helps us communicate ideas; and “The Word Collector” is a great book to help students understand the importance of daily vocabulary practice and routines in your reading workshop.

6. There by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick

There” is my favorite book to read when talking about goal setting with students. You can use it for so many different goal setting conversations and reading goals while launching reading workshop is a great opportunity to share this goal setting favorite.

You can discuss reading behavior goals and reading strategy goals and how students can set realistic goals to meet throughout the year. And reaching goals is also worth celebrating, so make sure to celebrate when you get “there.” As readers we are always trying to become better and setting goals help keep us focused and more active readers.

reading goal setting

You can read more about setting goals in reading conferences in this post.

Launching reading workshop is such an exciting time. It is a lot of work to learn new routines and create lasting habits, but once you get there, you'll know it was all worth it. A well run workshop is worth all of the efforts from you and your students.

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If you'd like a 10 day planning calendar to help you get started launching reading workshop, you can subscribe below to receive it right to your inbox.

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Shop all of the launching reading workshop resources from this post:

launching reading workshop

Happy Reading!!

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