5 Easy Ways You Can Turn LAUNCHING WRITER'S WORKSHOP Into Success

Launching Writer's Workshop Successfully

Writer's Workshop. It's a crucial part of the elementary curriculum, but launching it can seem very daunting.

Here are my tips to make launching Writer's Workshop a success in the primary grades:

1. Make sure you have all your materials BEFORE launching your workshop.

This may sound incredibly obvious, but it will truly save you a lot of time and headache if you make a list of things you need to launch Writer's Workshop (and things you'll need on hand as the year progresses). Think about:

  • Writing folders - what will students keep their writing in? 

  • Notebooks - do you want students to keep a notebook and write in it? Where will it be stored? 

  • Writing tools (pencils, pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils, erasers), and where they will be stored

  • Writing paper - where will students be able to access? 


2. Lessons should be mini-lessons, not maxi-lessons.

Students have limited attention spans (and we do, too - think of long staff meetings!), so we need to deliver the message quickly and efficiently. Lessons should be simple and brief (especially when launching Writer's Workshop) and have a clear objective. Lessons shouldn't take longer than about 10 minutes and should be very interactive if possible.


3. Model, Model, Model

Students who have never had Writer's Workshop, or who haven't had it in a few months (think Summer break) will need a lot of modeling to know what expectations are for Writer's Workshop and to know what to do. The teaching model  - I, We, You is a great way to model for students. Tell students the objective for the day, show them what the objective looks like, do some of it interactively with the students, then set them free to practice.

4. Use Mentor Texts

Why reinvent the wheel when you already have several wheels as examples? Mentor texts are a great way to show students what authors do well in their writing. For each and every Writer's Workshop topic or objective (personal narrative, small moment, persuasive writing, expository writing, fiction, how-to writing, etc.) there are several good quality mentor texts available. 

*Teaching tip: Keep a box or container of mentor texts. This is extremely helpful so you have all your mentor texts on hand all year long (and you don't have to go digging for them!).  

5. Start Small, Build Endurance

Launching Writer's Workshop is inherently designed this way so that students can start small with their writing, feel success, and build on their Writer's Workshop knowledge as they move through the school year. Don't expect your students to be pulitzer-worthy authors in the first week or month of Writer's Workshop. Students will continue to learn and develop their writing voice as they keep practicing. Keep encouraging your students as they work to become seasoned writers!

If you're looking for an easy way to get started launching Writer's Workshop, feel free to check out my Launching the Writer's Workshop Unit for Grades K-2 on TPT.