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Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop

Drawing on real classrooms and literacy research, this video workshop addresses critical topics in teaching reading for K-2 teachers.

A video workshop for K-2 teachers and reading specialists; 8 one-hour video programs, workshop guide, and website.

This video workshop addresses critical topics in teaching reading for K-2 teachers. Boston University professor of education Jeanne Paratore moderates the eight sessions with practicing K-2 teachers, reviewing current research on reading instruction and drawing out how it can inform classroom practice. In this workshop, participating teachers can compare their experiences with the onscreen teachers and review the video clips of real reading classes as they discuss the challenges of developing the literacy skills of their diverse students. Using the video programs, Website, and print guide, K-2 teachers and reading specialists will gain confidence to adopt new strategies and refine their current practices to meet the needs of all their students.


About This Workshop

Reading is intrinsic to everything children will learn in school. Creating a classroom community of eager and ready-to-read students presents you with a wealth of challenges and choices as teachers. This workshop will help you navigate the concerns of teaching beginning reading effectively.

The Teaching Reading K-2 Workshop introduces innovative research-based principles, teaching practices, and classroom activities designed to stimulate your teaching. Each of the eight workshop sessions examines a critical issue of early literacy. These sessions are designed to enhance the way you teach your K-2 students to read and write.

The eight video programs follow Professor Jeanne R. Paratore of Boston University and twelve K-2 teachers as they work through the major issues of teaching reading. Become a student yourself as you watch the lectures, classroom videos, and discussions, and complete a range of activities that you can use to improve your classroom reading instruction.

Support Materials

The complete guide to the video workshop is available here for download in PDF.

Front Matter
Workshop 1
Workshop 2
Workshop 3
Workshop 4
Workshop 5
Workshop 6
Workshop 7
Workshop 8

Website and Print Guide

The Teaching Reading K-2 Workshop is designed for individual or group professional development. Using the workshop guide, you can run a complete professional development workshop with colleagues or follow the videos by yourself. The guide features pre- and post-viewing activities and discussion questions to help you use the videos. It also includes readings, interactive components, and individual or group activities that expand each topic beyond the video.

You can access the guide online, or print it from this site.

To help you get the most out of the workshop, the online guide is organized into the following sections:

Workshop Session Main Page
The main page for each session outlines the different sections of the workshop and presents the session’s learning goals.

Before You Watch
This section includes a short summary of the video and the Session Preparation, which includes readings and activities to be completed before viewing the video. Complete the charts and review key terms to stimulate your thinking about the workshop session’s topic.

Watch the Video
This section divides the program into three parts: Lecture, Classroom Excerpts, and Discussion. In the Lecture, watch Dr. Paratore present the research-based principles related to the topic. Then observe the principles in action in the Classroom Excerpts. Finally, compare your observations with those expressed by the workshop participants in the Discussion. Use the questions that follow each video segment to focus your viewing and response.

Examine the Topic
This section consists of up to three parts: Extend Your Knowledge, Analyze Your Teaching, and an interactive activity. Extend Your Knowledge presents selected readings that expand on the principles discussed or examine an alternative point of view. In Analyze Your Teaching, you can reflect on your own instruction and better understand the continuum of teaching reading. The activity allows you to explore reading principles more thoroughly.

Put It Into Practice
This section helps you to apply what you have learned to your own teaching practices. The activities are designed to assist you in developing resources for your classroom and provide lesson-plan templates, record forms, and worksheets to use with your literacy instruction.

Wrap Up
This final section encourages you to review what you have learned and to revise the notes you have taken. Answer the questions posed to summarize your understanding of the topic.

The Printouts page includes a complete list of the readings, lecture posters, and charts needed for the workshop session. If you lack regular access to a printer, you may want to print all documents for a session at once from this page.

The Assignments page provides a list of the required assignments for the workshop session. You can use this page to make sure you’ve completed all the assignments required for professional development.

Related Resources
The Related Resources page provides a list of books, articles, related resources, and other materials used in the video workshop or recommended as further reading.

Using the Guide

If you are working alone:

  • Identify your goals as you prepare for the session.
  • Use the questions to generate self-reflection.
  • Write responses to questions in a journal to review at a later date.

If you are working in a group:

  • Prepare for the session before meeting with the group.
  • Use the questions to stimulate discussion.
  • Compare experiences to better understand literacy instruction in different grades.
  • Collaborate in planning activities and developing resources.

Video Programs

The Teaching Reading K-2 Workshop video programs introduce eight important topics of early literacy instruction. The videos are designed to stand alone or be viewed as a whole.

Each one-hour video is divided into sections to help guide your viewing. Watch the video in its entirety before you begin, or watch it in segments as you take the workshop session.

To help you get the most out of the video programs, use “Today’s Schedule” throughout the video to navigate and structure your viewing time.

Who's Who

Jeanne R. Paratore, Workshop Facilitator
Dr. Paratore is Associate Professor of Education at Boston University. She was formerly a classroom teacher, reading consultant, and director of Title I. From 1989-1997, Dr. Paratore was an integral member of the Boston University/Chelsea, Massachusetts School Partnership, a comprehensive urban school reform effort. As part of this work, Dr. Paratore founded and now serves as advisor to the Intergenerational Literacy Project, a family literacy program that serves immigrant parents and their children. Her work on school change and family literacy is described in numerous monographs, book chapters, and journal articles. She has also authored and edited several books. Dr. Paratore is a frequent speaker on literacy instruction and has presented at local, national, and international reading and educational research conferences, as well as in school districts throughout the United States. She recently completed a three-year term as a member of the International Reading Association’s Board of Directors.

Mileidis Gort, Guest Lecturer
Dr. Gort is Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, with experience as an English as a Second Language teacher, bilingual literacy consultant, and research project director. The focus of her work, biliteracy development of English- and Spanish-dominant bilingual learners in dual language programs, has been published in various journals and books. As an accomplished speaker, Dr. Gort has lectured on bilingualism at local and national educational conferences across the country. She was recently awarded first place in the AERA/Bilingual Education Research SIG and the NABE Outstanding Dissertation Competitions, and continues to serve as an advisory board member on the national “Portraits of Success” project to track successful bilingual education in the U.S.

Mary Matthews, Curriculum Developer
Dr. Matthews is Curriculum Coordinator for Language Arts in the Brookline, Massachusetts Public Schools. The former reading specialist and special education teacher has taught graduate courses in Elementary Language Arts, Reading Instruction, and Literacy Assessment at Boston University and Bridgewater State College. She has also led workshops on reading instruction in many of Massachusetts’ public schools. As a frequent speaker on effective practices in literacy instruction, Dr. Matthews has presented her area of expertise at both the International Reading Association and Massachusetts Reading Association. She recently led a three-year committee in Brookline to develop a curriculum handbook for literacy instruction for grades four to six. Dr. Matthews is past president of the Massachusetts Reading Association where she currently serves as Publications Editor.

Workshop Participants
The workshop participants represent a range of K-2 teachers from the Greater Boston area.

Adrienne Bradshaw
Q. E. Dickerman Elementary School
Dorchester, Massachusetts


Libby Croce
St. Francis of Assisi School
Medford, Massachusetts


Meynardo Gutierrez
The Morse Elementary School
Newton Center, Massachusetts


Kemp Harris
Bowen Elementary School
Cambridge, Massachusetts


 Kristen Nelson
Merriam Elementary School
Acton, Massachusetts


Ruth Oliver
Dr. William H. Ohrenberger Elementary School
West Roxbury, Massachusetts


 Robin Peterson
Belmont Day School
Belmont, Massachusetts


Marcy Prager
Driscoll Elementary School
Brookline, Massachusetts


Cruz Sanabria
The Blackstone School
Boston, Massachusetts


Kristin Stoetzel
The Hardy School
Wellesley, Massachusetts


Lisa Wallace
Witchcraft Heights Elementary School
Salem, Massachusetts


Jodi Wollner
Mary Lee Burbank Elementary School
Belmont, Massachusetts


Classroom Teachers
Classrooms shown in the workshop are from Teaching Reading K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices. Teachers featured in the classroom excerpts represent a range of K-2 teachers from across the country.

Martha Duran-Contreras
Will Rogers School
Santa Monica, California

Charmon Evans
Richard E. Bard Elementary School
Port Hueneme, California

Shari Frost
Norwood Park Elementary School
Chicago, Illinois

Valerie Kostandos
Decius Beebe School
Melrose, Massachusetts

Sheila Owen
Wellwood School
Beaumont, California

Hildi Perez
Young Achievers School for Science and Math
Boston, Massachusetts

Becky Pursley
Barton Hills Elementary School
Austin, Texas

John Sinnett
Collins Elementary School
Houston, Texas

Stacey Soto
Hemenway Elementary School
Framingham, Massachusetts

James St. Clair
Amigos School
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cindy Wilson
Josiah Quincy Elementary School
Boston, Massachusetts

Workshop Session Summaries

1. Creating a Literate Community
In this session, you will explore the ways in which classroom organization and routines influence both children’s opportunities to read and write and their attitudes towards reading and writing. Classroom excerpts from the Teaching Reading video library provide illustrations to inspire discussion on the routines and arrangements shown in relation to your own classroom communities.

2. Supporting the English Language Learner
Led by guest lecturer Dr. Mileidis Gort, you will examine research-based principles that support English Language Learners’ literacy and language development. Classroom excerpts illustrate effective second language instruction and provide an opportunity to reflect on your teaching practices. You will observe a teacher-led activity that makes selected texts comprehensible and accessible to English Language Learners.

3. Word Study and Fluency
The complex topic of teaching phonics sparks a challenging debate in this session, which examines the foundational elements of emergent literacy, the principles of effective word study instruction, and the explicit teaching of fluency. The principles serve as a lens for discussing the teaching practices viewed in classroom excerpts and analyzing a phonics lesson.

4. Comprehension and Response
This session focuses on essential comprehension strategies that characterize good readers, and components of explicit and strategic instruction that promote these strategies. You will observe grade-level groups plan a lesson based on a strategy that supports student comprehension of and response to the story Stone Soup.

5. Teaching Writing as a Process
Drawing the distinction between writing in response to reading and writing as a process, this session explores the challenges in instructing and inspiring students to create their own stories through narrative writing. As you watch classroom excerpts, you will consider opportunities for students to plan, draft, revise, and edit their work and your own writing programs.

6. Differentiating Instruction
In this session, Dr. Paratore engages the evidence that grouping students appropriately and providing them with equally appropriate literacy instruction enhances achievement in reading. Classroom excerpts illustrate good practices of different grouping models that support the needs of all students, and allow you to reflect on your teaching practices.

7. Using Assessment To Guide Instruction
This session examines assessment practices used to measure student performance and inform instructional practice. You will observe assessment routines in classroom excerpts and reflect on your own classroom assessments. At the end of the session, you will observe teachers analyze a first-grader’s reading assessment and writing sample, and discuss further instruction for the student.

8. Connecting School and Home
Highlighting the importance of home-school partnerships, this session explores the factors influencing a child’s home literacy habits, and the ways in which teachers can support them. You will view and discuss classroom excerpts illustrating ways to connect school and home literacy, and consider how to promote effective parent involvement.

Workshop Organizer Chart

Each workshop session focuses on one central methodology, as well as several related teaching and learning topics. Use this chart to see which topics are covered in each workshop session.

Suggestions for Facilitators

You can use the workshop to provide professional development activities for teachers in a variety of settings:

  • In reading methodology courses
  • For teachers broadening their range of instructional practices
  • For individual teacher study of a specific topic or grade level
  • In a district or school workshop
  • In professional development mentoring programs

The following facilitator tips can enhance the professional development experience:

  • Review the Web or print guide, and preview the video prior to running a study group or workshop.
  • Print and duplicate charts, posters, and templates ahead of time.
  • Have participants complete the Session Preparation prior to meeting.
  • Identify participants’ skill levels and build from there.
  • Use sections that meet your needs and those of your participants.
  • Begin with the suggested questions and continue with other questions that interest you and your colleagues.
  • Allow enough time to wait for participants’ responses.
  • Encourage debate and discussion to help trigger and focus controversial issues.
  • Promote reflection as a means to improving teaching.
  • Organize participants into different groups for different activities to give everyone a chance to work with everyone else.
  • Conclude by reviewing strategies and action items participants can use in their teaching practice.

Workshop Video Credits

Core Advisors
Patricia Edwards
Michigan State University

Jeanne R. Paratore
Boston University

Robert Rueda
University of Southern California

Project Advisors
Eurydice Bauer
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Donna Ogle
National-Louis University, Illinois

Linda Roth
Between the Lions (PBS)

Robin Rogers-Browne
Nashoba Regional School District, Massachusetts

James St. Clair
Cambridge Public School District, Massachusetts

Workshop Facilitator
Jeanne R. Paratore
Boston University

Guest Lecturer
Mileidis Gort
University of Connecticut at Storrs

Cynthia A. McKeown
Ann Peck

Mary-Kate Shea
Karen Silverstein

Production Assistants
Julie Rivinus
Michael Rossi

Production Manager
Mary Ellen Gardiner

Location Manager and Post Production Associate Producer
Peter Villa

Production Coordinator
Mary Susan Blout

Bill Charette
Lance Douglas
Larry LeCain
Stephen McCarthy
David Rabinovitz

Chris Bresnahan
Charlie Collias
Keith McManus

On-line Editors
Maureen Barden Lynch
John Sherrer

Sound Mix
John Jenkins
Dan Lesiw

Gaye Korbet
Dennis O’Reilly
Bruce Walker

Guy Van Duser

Judy Richardson

Business Manager
Joe Karaman

Unit Manager
Kimberly Langley

Office Coordinator
Justin Brown

Project Director
Ali Farhoodi

Senior Project Director
Amy Tonkonogy

Executive Producer
Michele Korf

Workshop Web Credits

Senior Producer
Ted Sicker

Curriculum Director
Denise Blumenthal

Curriculum Developer
Mary Matthews
Curriculum Coordinator for Language Arts, K-8
Brookline Public Schools, Massachusetts

Curriculum Project Coordinator
Nina Farouk

Core Advisors
Patricia Edwards
University of Michigan, Michigan

Jeanne R. Paratore
Boston University, Massachusetts

Robin Rogers-Brown
Nashoba Regional School District, Massachusetts

Robert Rueda
University of Southern California, California

Plum Crane
Lisa Rosenthal
Christian Wise

Web Developer
Joseph Brandt

Unit Manager
Adriana Sacchi

With the Assistance of
Mary Blout
Melinda Coneys
Becky Evans
Mark Geffen


Teaching Reading K-2 Workshop is a production of WGBH Interactive and WGBH Educational Programming and Outreach for Annenberg Media.

Copyright 2003 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved. Legal Policy

Series Directory

Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2003.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-681-2