Beyond reading workshop: what happens next year?

There are many different reading strategies that teachers employ in their language arts programs. One particular program, reading workshop, uses minilessons, self-selected reading, response journals and student dialogue to increase students' reading proficiency as well as their intrinsic motivation to read. There have been many studies that have reported the positive effects of reading workshop on students while they are participating in it; however, the purpose of this study was to ascertain whether or not the effects of and behaviors associated with reading workshop carried over into students' private lives after the experience was over. To that end, the researcher surveyed sixth grade students who had participated in reading workshop in her fifth grade class. In addition, because of the unreliability of self-reported data, the researcher also surveyed the students' parents regarding their child's current reading habits. The results were overwhelmingly positive; despite the rigorous demands of sixth grade homework as well as the fact that they did not participate in reading workshop in their current Language Arts Classes, the majority of students were still using strategies from reading workshop, still found reading self-selected material worthwhile, and continued to talk and discuss books with their peers.