Reading Workshop in the Upper Grades

Just because I teach 5th grade doesn’t mean my students are too old for reading workshop! Many teachers have the idea that once a student gets past 2nd or 3rd grade, the workshop model is not appropriate. I’ve been using the workshop model in both math and reading for the past 7 years! When I taught workshop math, my test scores were always above the state, regional area, and district. Reading workshop is a bit more challenging because so many students struggle with reading.

Reading is so complex that you really have to pinpoint where the student is struggling. With math, you only have a few areas to look at, but with reading you must consider phonics, decoding, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and many other areas. I’ve tried the Daily 5 model in my classroom, but I just didn’t have the time. Since I teach ELA to all fifth grade students, I have about 80 students who come in and out my door each day. That’s a lot of students and lessons but not enough time. Today I wanted to share with you what my 5th grade workshop model looks like and how you can make it work in your classroom.

reading ws in upg


The last time I posted my schedule, it went viral on Pinterest. So, this let me know that there are a lot of other teachers out there who are trying to make the best of their class time and do great things for their students! Here is how my schedule will look for next year. I will go into detail about each component of my workshop model. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section or email me at!

reading ws schedule



tues thurs


I’d love to hear about what other upper grades teachers are doing to make time for workshop in their classroom! If there is anything you want me to explain or go into detail about, please email me at or comment below!

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  • Reply
    Tracey Alexander
    September 13, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Terri!
    I am a new fourth grade (and first year!) teacher and am trying to figure out how to best use my short ELA time while using the reading and writing workshop. I absolutely love your schedule but am wondering about two things:
    1. do you teach all those mini lessons on monday with no independent time? and then no mini lessons for the rest of the week?
    2. do you conference with the students?

    Thank your for your help and for sharing your wonderful schedule!

    • Reply
      December 2, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Yes, I do all my mini lessons on Monday but do guided groups through the week. This year, I do status of the class for the first 15 minutes each day. Students are reading silently while I check in with each one about what they are reading and what page they are on. If I see students that need a specific strategy to help them comprehend better, I either meet with them after our check-in or after class. Hope this helps!

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