UDL and Reading/Writing Workshop: Strategies for Developing Proficient Readers

As educators, our goal is for our students to become powerful readers and writers who display agency and independence. To achieve this goal, we need to intentionally remove barriers to learning and create options for how instruction is presented, how students express their ideas, and how we can engage students in their learning.  Implementing the Reading and Writing Workshop model and the Universal Design for Learning(UDL) framework helps us to provide our students' opportunities to read a lot of text with high levels of comprehension so that they become powerful, proficient readers.

Reading and Writing Workshop are approaches to literacy instruction that support a Balanced Literacy framework.  Workshops are a crucial, but not sufficient part of an overall Balanced Literacy program.  This framework teaches phonemic awareness and phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, through a combination of whole group, small group and 1:1 instruction.  The instructional components of a balanced literacy framework include: read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, interactive writing, shared writing, independent writing, and phonics/ word study.   Reading and Writing Workshop particularly supports the independent and small group portions of the balanced literacy time.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles that provides teachers a structure to consider barriers to learning and develop instruction to meet the diverse needs of all learners.  We know that ALL students are different and learn in varied ways. Universal Design for Learning helps educators plan for variability with flexible, responsive teaching methods and technologies.

Getting Started - Develop an ever-growing toolkit of strategies:

1.    Engage and explore the Reading and Writing Workshop model and the Universal Design for Learning principles by completing the tasks and reviewing the resources provided on this interactive hyperdoc training module.

2.    Reflect on your teaching practices and identify ways to apply the UDL guidelines to break down barriers in your classroom by reviewing and exploring the Workshop and UDL Crosswalk.  The crosswalk includes information on the Workshop Components, Look Fors, Common Barriers, Principles and Guidelines and Strategies to support the development of powerful readers and writers who display agency and independence.  

Note: The Workshop and UDL Crosswalk and the accompanying interactive hyperdoc training module do not highlight all the components of Balanced Literacy.

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