Series Content Conversations: Strategies for ELLs: Reading Workshop in Kindergarten


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature K-5
  • K:  Kindergarten
  • 4:  Ask and answer questions about unknown words
    in a text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature K-\x80\x935
  • K:  Kindergarten
  • 10:  Actively engage in group reading activities with
    purpose and understanding.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RF:  Reading Standards: Foundational Skills (K-\x80\x935)
  • K:  Kindergarten
  • 3a: 
    Know and apply grade-level phonics and word
    analysis skills in decoding words.

    a. Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one
    letter-sound correspondences by producing
    the primary or many of the most frequent
    sound for each consonant.

    b. Associate the long and short sounds with
    common spellings (graphemes) for the five
    major vowels.

    c. Read common high-frequency words by sight
    (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

    d. Distinguish between similarly spelled words by
    identifying the sounds of the letters that differ.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Reading Workshop in Kindergarten

Lesson Objective: Personalize reading instruction through a workshop model
Grade K / English / ELL
10 MIN
ELA.RL.K.4 | ELA.RL.K.10 | ELA.RF.K.3a


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. What routines and expectations does Ms. Coufal have in place in order for the workshop to run smoothly?
  2. How does Ms. Coufal use her conference time with students?
  3. How does the workshop model support all students, especially English Language Learners?


  • Private message to Beatriz Jaimes

This is a great workshop for young students. The teacher has a structure class, and the students are very engaged in the class. I would like to apply some of these strategies in my 1st grade class.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to TONIA THOMAS

This was great.picture power this was good all the students were so engaged,they were having so much fun,this was a great video and good strategies to use for young children.Using the pop method when sounding out words I really enjoyed this teaching method.

Recommended (1)
  • Private message to Jessa Marie Itliong

I wish I found this website and video before I became a summer instructor. I was thrust into a instructor position and I had no idea how to effectively teach my students (who all were going to the 1st grade). Many of my students were also english leaners and hearing how it's important to for parents to continue reading and talking to their children and it's the responsibility of the teacher to transfer those skills into english. 

How do I keep students engaged in reading if they are struggling with it?

Recommended (1)
  • Private message to Audrey Gassaway

I love this workshop idea! As a future teacher I love learning about new reading strategies! 

Recommended (1)
  • Private message to Mary Salmon

Ms. Coufal uses shared reading and teaches the students how to use pictures in reading.  She also phonic awareness and reading powers.  I especially like the fact that students do independent reading and partner reading.  She also confers with each students to see what level of reading they are on and if they are using any type of reading strategies.  She collects data and writes it down on chart to keep track of each student's reading level.  

Recommended (1)


  • Reading Workshop in Kindergarten Transcript
    Teaching Channel

    +++ 00:00:07 +++
    Student: "I am under the yellow umbrella."
    Reading Workshop

    Reading Workshop in Kindergarten Transcript
    Teaching Channel

    +++ 00:00:07 +++
    Student: "I am under the yellow umbrella."
    Reading Workshop
    in Kindergarten
    Emma Coufal: We're going to start our readers workshop by playing a game that you guys know really well called pop it, and we're going to pop it with a book we read today.
    Emma Coufal: My name is Emma Coufal. I teach Kindergarten at Think College Now Elementary School in Oakland California.
    Lower Third:
    Emma Coufal
    Kindergarten Teacher
    Think College Now Elementary, Oakland, CA

    Emma Coufal: Today's lesson was a reader's workshop lesson on using pictures to figure out an unknown word.

    +++ 00:00:36 +++
    Emma Coufal: So I'm going to point to a picture and you guys are going to help me by popping it. So let's start with a picture of a jar. J-J.
    Students: J-J-J
    Emma Coufal: Oh, very good. Let's try "car".
    Students: C-C-C
    Emma Coufal: Awesome job.

    +++ 00:00:54 +++
    Emma Coufal: We like to bookend the lessons with some sort of a phonics or phonemic awareness game, and so we play pop it so they could just play the sound, the first sound that they heard when we talked about a picture, and it was just a little warm up for them and also to know that they were going to be using those pictures and first sounds and what we were going to be doing.

    Emma Coufal: Let's pop it at "chair".
    Students: Ch-ch-ch.

    +++ 00:01:15 +++
    Emma Coufal: Most of my students are language learners. I think it's a lot about valuing what they bring in and where they come from. So I have students that come in, you know, in their home they speak Spanish or Cambodian or Man or Mien, like so many wonderful languages, and really valuing and telling the parents that we value that too. That if you're talking with your child and reading with your child, it doesn't really matter what language you're doing that in. They're developing literacy and language skills, and then my job is to transfer those skills to English.

    +++ 00:01:44 +++
    Emma Coufal: So we've been practicing being super readers. We really worked on that. You guys are all super readers, and we thought about what superhero we are when we're a super reader, so can you quietly whisper to your partner, "What super hero do you want to be?"
    Emma Coufal: And then we talked about how we've been using our superpowers to become super readers and that today they were going to learn a new superpower.

    +++ 00:02:08 +++
    Emma Coufal: Just like superheroes, if we come to a word that's tricky or a book is hard, we can activate all of our powers. We might need one more power. Okay, are you ready to learn what that power is?
    Students: Yes.

    +++ 00:02:21 +++
    Emma Coufal: All right. The power that we are going to learn today, it's called picture power. Can we say, "picture power"?
    Students: Picture power.
    Emma Coufal: And I'm going to put picture power up on the chart.
    Common Core State Standard
    Phonics and Word Recognition

    +++ 00:02:33 +++
    Emma Coufal: The learning goal would be that the children were able to use a picture to figure out an unknown word--
    Common Core State Standard
    Engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding
    -- or that they would be able to use the picture in a first sound to determine an unknown word in their book.
    Emma Coufal: In the garden.
    Readers Workshop

    +++ 00:02:48 +++
    Emma Coufal: We began by doing a shared reading with a book called In the garden, and we talked a little bit about the title and what we might read about in the book, and then we opened it up and we began reading the sight words together until we came to an unknown word, which was actually covered up.

    +++ 00:03:05 +++
    Emma Coufal: I covered up the picture right here too. Oh my gosh, some friends are thinking that it's butterfly, and maybe that's because I didn't cover up the picture well enough. You were already using your picture power. When I turn it over, here's a butterfly there, so my guess-- my guess is that that word's going to be butterfly. I'm going to look and check to see if I'm right.
    +++ 00:03:33 +++
    Look at that. It starts with the "b-b-b". So let's read it together.
    Students: Look at the butterfly.

    +++ 00:03:46 +++
    Emma Coufal: With Common Core, children should be reading and analyzing text from the time they enter school. That means that they have an interest in books; that they're able to, like, see what is in a book; they can read certain levels of text and understand pictures, understand concepts and have conversations about them.

    +++ 00:04:04 +++
    Emma Coufal: What is that letter? That's a "c"
    Students: "C".
    Emma Coufal: What sound does the 'c' make?
    Students: "Ch"

    +++ 00:04:12 +++
    Emma Coufal: Oh, just like caterpillar. I think we've figured it out with our picture power. Let's read it together.
    Students: Look at the caterpillar.
    Emma Coufal: After that mini lesson they go into their independent reading time.

    +++ 00:04:31 +++
    Emma Coufal: So we're going to go back-to-back with our partner when I say so, and we're going to use all our superpowers to read the books in our book basket. So I want everyone to stand up, find your book baskets, and let's find our spots.

    +++ 00:04:47 +++
    Emma Coufal: The majority of workshop is them being in reading time, where they're reading independently and then they're reading as a partnership. It takes a lot of practice for students to be able to manage themselves independently--
    Readers Workshop
    Independent Reading

    +++ 00:05:01 +++
    Emma Coufal: We introduce the partnership method of 'Here's your partner. This is where you and your partner go." We talked about independent reading or private reading means you're going to turn back to back, and this is when you're working on learning and reading and, you know, growing your reading muscles.
    Emma Coufal: What do you thin that might be?
    Readers Workshop
    Student: Flags.

    +++ 00:05:21 +++
    Emma Coufal: Flags. Good job with your picture power.
    Emma Coufal: So when I walk around I confer with students, I'm taking notes to see if they have started to understand that learning goal.
    Student: First of July.

    +++ 00:05:35 +++
    Emma Coufal: High five. What great reading you're doing. So, Brian, I think that what we're going to do is we're going to try and do a level B and see if you can do that.
    Emma Coufal: However readers workshop it's very spiraling. So a lot of it we continue to do everyday, everyday.
    Emma Coufal: Can you show me your pointing power?
    Student: I...

    +++ 00:05:57 +++
    Emma Coufal: Remember that word is a sight word? Do you remember what word that is? Do you remember what word that is?
    Student: Like.
    Emma Coufal: Like. "I like". Oh, very good.

    +++ 00:06:06 +++
    Emma Coufal: I'm acknowledging that not all students are going to hit a learning target at the end of each lesson. Some of them will; some of them are going to hear it immediately you use it in their reading, and some of them might use it two months from now, and some of them might have already been using that. For me, it's going around assessing where each student is at their own level and then I can make targeted groups from there as well.

    +++ 00:06:30 +++
    Emma Coufal: So where about to change to partner reading, and before we turn with our partner I want to tell you that you might need to help your partner with the first sound of their picture. You can help them pop the word just like we did in the beginning.

    +++ 00:06:46 +++
    Emma Coufal: When you are wording with your partner you want to be side to side, and when you're sitting side to side that's how you're helping, and how can you be a good partner? We've looked a lot at that, of what does it mean to be a good partner.
    Readers Workshop

    Students: "Isn't Halloween fun? Then 'Woo' went in the wind."
    Students: "We are here. We are here."

    +++ 00:07:13 +++
    Emma Coufal: Oh, very good, now can you guys go on a snap word hunt, a sight word hunt and find the word "we"? Oh, you found it.
    Emma Coufal: Anything to help their partner notice those words and notice the pictures and get better at reading the books I think my role in that is to remind them, "Oh, you have this strategy. Why don't you try that strategy?" And then they do it.

    +++ 00:07:35 +++
    Emma Coufal: Victoria, can you show her where you saw it? That's really being a good partner, Victoria. Can you guys try and find more sight words that way?
    Student: "Who is under the yellow umbrella?"

    +++ 00:07:46 +++
    Emma Coufal: They are talking about books with their partners. They are decoding words together. They're using phonics. They're using picture to try and understand words. They're understanding the relationship between text and pictures and between text and their world. And also knowing that they're five years old or their six years old and they want to have fun and they want to be silly and they, you know, want a little witch finger on their hand to point to things, that's-- I mean that's such a little thing but it makes
    +++ 00:08:16 +++
    them feel so powerful to have that little pointer on their hand to go through. Then we came back to the carpet for a share.
    Emma Coufal: Now boys and girls, we're going to put our book baskets away quietly and carefully and come back to our spots.

    +++ 00:08:34 +++
    Emma Coufal: We're constantly changing and evolving our structures and our teaching styles and our methods and our systems to work with our kids.

    +++ 00:08:43 +++
    Emma Coufal: Different developmentally appropriate techniques, how can we do all this to lift up our students and continue learning that.
    Readers Workshop

    +++ 00:08:51 +++
    Emma Coufal: I saw so many readers helping each other, especially with their partners. So if you were being a really helpful partner like Batman and Robin, give yourself a pat on the back for being a really great partner.

    +++ 00:09:07 +++
    Emma Coufal: It's really starting out from day one, reading is something we do for enjoyment. It's something we learned. Why do we want to learn? How can we learn? I just think there's a lot of things we do to make it fun and to make it developmentally appropriate so that they can enjoy this and they can be pumped about going through school and being scholars and being part of this educational world.
    Teaching Channel

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School Details

Think College Now School
2825 International Boulevard
Oakland CA 94601
Population: 306

Data Provided By:



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