An important part of the workshop model is using reading partnerships to support the objectives of the mini-lesson. Students turn and talk with their partners on the rug. They also have an opportunity to share with their reading partners at the close of the workshop.
To prepare them for sharing with their partner, I make a mid-workshop interruption. I usually say something like, " Excuse me readers. May I have your attention for a moment? In a few minutes you will be sharing your thinking from your post-its with your partner. Please decide what you are going to talk about and finish up any post-its that you are working on."
At this time it is a good idea to remind students about our discussion prompts. Hold one or two of them up and give examples of how they help to have a meaningful conversation with a partner about ideas in a book. Say, "Students you can look at these reminder sticks: This one reminds you that you can say, "Will you please repeat/restate what you said? This one has the word. "Agree" and it helps remind us that we can agree with what someone has shared by saying a sentence like, 'I agree with what you said because....and then you can make a connection to either your book or if you have also read the book you can remember and agree with them and even Add on by saying more ideas...
End by saying, "So there are a lot of ways to have a great conversation with your partner about what you are reading. that makes sharing your books and thinking a lot of fun!"
One powerful purpose of partner talk is to support students as they figure out big ideas and themes in books and find evidence to support those themes. Look at this student summary and my analysis to see how questions for a partner could have pushed this reader to support her claims about the book.
"Students, for your turn and talk with your partner I want you to know what post-it you are going to share. I also want you to listen actively to what you r partner has to say about their book. Be ready to prompt the with more questions about what they are saying to you. For example, you can have these questions ready for them: Can you repeat that?" What is the main problem in the book? What kind of character is the main character? What things to they do and say that make you say that? Why is that post-it important? You want to get your partner to say more about what they are sharing so that your converstation goes deeper. See if they will tell you more about what they are reading. Your job is to really listen and you might be able to find similarities with the problems and characters in your book.
For example, take a look at this post-it: This student wrote on his post-it that Greg is trying to make his family better because they have a lot of problems. Take a minute to think of a good question you could ask this person to get them to tell more about his pos-it. Give students time to think. Then ask for students to raise their hands and share possible questions they could ask this person to get them to tell more. I'm anticipating students will say, " What are some of the problems his family has? then that will open up room for additional conversation about those problems. Sibling rivalry, for example. which might led the students into comparing this theme with other books with the same theme such as Fudge by Judy Blume.
Lets try another, look at this post-it: It says this is a good book because it teaches us not to mean to homeless people. What is a question you could ask this student if they were your partner and shared this with you? Give students time to think and then process with them. Teaching students to ask questions of their partner to get them to talk more about their thinking and apply the lesson in the book to their lives or to another book.
At about 8 minutes before the close of the workshop, prompt your students to turn to their partners and share their thinking from one of their post-its. Give the class about 5-10 minutes to share with each other. Circulate around the room and listen to partnerships. Offer suggestions by pointing out the anchor charts that have sentence stems to scaffold their talk.