Sunny Kaminski's First-Grade Classroom: A Typical Readers' Workshop Time
Sunny Kaminski sits in her rocking chair, reading a story to 22 eager listeners. The first graders sit cross-legged on the rug, enjoying both the story and the fall sunshine that pours through the window above them. When she finishes the story, Ms. Kaminski says, "Tell you what. If you would come over here and choose a book and then find someplace in the room to read it, it would be just great." Children scatter to find a favorite book or a new and challenging one, and to sit at tables or desks, on the rug or on the lap of the class bear. Everyone begins to read. This is reading-workshop time in Sunny Kaminski's first grade.
Ms. Kaminski's room is one of two first grades at Roseton Elementary School in a rural county in a southeastern state. The county, surrounding the university city of Charter Hills, includes both nearby suburban areas and rural and agricultural areas stretching about 15 miles in each direction from the city. It includes residential subdivisions, large farms and plantations belonging to wealthy owners, small but prosperous farms, and undeveloped areas where natural beauty and rural poverty are intertwined.
Roseton School is 12 miles east of Charter Hills and only a mile or two from the mountains. Its economic diversity is considerable. Some of its students come from middle-class or working-class homes; their parents may