There's Room for Me Here: Literacy Workshop in the Middle School

There's Room for Me Here: Literacy Workshop in the Middle School

There's Room for Me Here: Literacy Workshop in the Middle School

There's Room for Me Here: Literacy Workshop in the Middle School


What do you do with students who cannot or will not read and write? This portrait of Kyle Gonzalez's classroom offers teachers theory-based strategies for helping students become motivated and successful readers and writers. You will see how one middle school teacher sets up her literacy classroom, offers intervention and support for struggling students, and assesses their progress. Rich in description of Kyle's successes, the book also looks honestly at why some practices were ineffective in her setting.

With Janet's and Kyle's practical and detailed suggestions for creating a literate environment, you'll learn how to:

  • establish a literacy workshop;
  • choose and use effective resources;
  • implement effective, informative record-keeping;
  • help students establish goals and assess progress;
  • use read-alouds as well as shared, guided, and independent reading and writing;
  • instill reading and writing practices that help students read content-specific texts.

There's Room for Me Here includes record-keeping forms, extensive bibliographies of literature and professional materials, resource information, and samples of strategy lessons all embedded in this engaging story of a teacher's first three years building a literacy workshop in her classroom.

Kyle's students are middle school learners who struggle with literacy. The strategies, content-area connections, and management ideas, however, are applicable and appropriate for use by any 3-12 teacher.


You know, Giono said to me, there are also times in life when a person
has to rush off in pursuit of hopefulness.

Norma L. Goodrich, afterword to The Man Who Planted Trees

Partnerships for Learning

I met Kyle Gonzalez in 1992. It was my first year of teaching at the University of Central Florida, and Kyle was an undergraduate there. I was then the only English education professor, so Kyle took several classes with me. With each subsequent class, I became more impressed with Kyle's focus on the students who would be on the receiving end of our ideas and plans. Her quiet ways and intense interest in the whys of education garnered my respect from the beginning.

In 1993, during the fall term of Kyle's final undergraduate year, I began talking with Orange County administrators about the increasing number of public middle school students who were unable or unwilling to read. These administrators read my dissertation (published in 1995 as It's Never Too Late), which chronicled my work with secondary students at risk in terms of literacy, and together we began to plan the Orange County Literacy Project. In the fall of 1994 the county would institute special classes attempting to replicate and modify for middle schools the classroom practices I had written about. The one change was the addition of a computer software program created by Vanderbilt University professors.

By the summer of 1994, three middle schools had been chosen to pilot the Literacy Project and two of the three teachers who would conduct the newly created classes had been hired. However, the principal of the third school called and asked me to recommend someone to teach these classes in his school. He wanted someone who had recently graduated from the English education program in which I was teaching, so that . . .

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