Last year the Socrates Academy Foundation approved funding for Writers Workshop. All Elementary teachers, assistants and EC teachers took part in the Writer’s Workshop training. This training fosters consistency in the writing approach and a vertical alignment of writing standards and gives our teachers a common language to use with students while teaching writing. In addition they planned units for each grade level so that during the 2014-2015 school year they were able to start implementing writer’s workshop through the units of study.


The evidence of this teaching process can be seen on the walls, in the hallway in the work that is posted by the students. The students are able to write in different genres, are increasing in writing stamina and are using all of their senses to compose text. Spelling is also improving. Once the students learn how to generalize spelling rules, they naturally become better readers.


Increased Literacy Block

This year we increased the time that the students are spending in literacy. Our new literacy block for grades K-4 is an uninterrupted 90 minutes. During that time, the teachers engage the students in Writers and Readers Workshops. Teacher schedules were also arranged so that teachers who aren’t teaching during this time are available to “push-in” to classrooms, in order to offer team support and provide a 1:10 teacher:student ratio.


Writer’s Workshop

Did you notice all of the post-it notes and composition notebooks that were added to the school supply list this year? Did you know that those tools are going to make your children amazing writers? Here’s how:

Last year Socrates Academy Elementary teachers started training with Rebecca Shoniker, a literacy coach who helps teachers to create a "school-wide culture that celebrates literacy and life-long learners”. Rebecca is supporting our teachers as they implement the Writing Workshop instruction method, developed by Lucy Calkins, which can build students' fluency with deeper, more detailed writing through exposure to practice and classroom writing engagement.


Some common workshop vocabulary that you may hear your students talking about, include;

Writing notebooks



Read aloud

Words Their Way Word Sorts

Partner Conferencing

Revising and Editing

Published Piece



Readers Workshop

Our Elementary teachers are also being trained in the Reader’s Workshop method. This teaching method uses leveled books for guided reading, and allows teachers and readers to dig deeper into a text for much more meaningful and thorough comprehension. A book room has been created in the Couchell Building, where teachers can borrow sets of books on all different levels to use during guided reading instruction. 

Small group and individualized instruction is also supported by the workshop model. This takes place daily after a whole-group mini-lesson with read-aloud, partner reading, possibly shared reading, and frequent one-on-one conferencing.

All of our Elementary students were recently assessed in Fountas & Pinnell levels, so we can have an accurate understanding of what books should be used for instructional time during guided reading and during independent reading. Fountas & Pinnell's work is now considered the gold standard in the field of literacy instruction and staff development. In fact, if you go to the Public Library and tell them what your students F&P level is, they can help you find books that are perfect for your child’s reading practice at home.


Some of the vocabulary you may hear your student or teacher using, include;

Formal benchmark testing

One-on-one conferencing


Read aloud

Reading notebook

Guided Reading

Shared Reading

Partner Reading

Independent Reading



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Socrates Academy 3909 Weddington Rd, Matthews, NC 28105-6673   Phone: 704.321.1711   Fax: 704.321.1714