Audio Books

Quite a number of us have been talking about ways in which to utilize audiobooks in the reading workshop and beyond.  As always, I’m keeping an eye out for freebies that might help us move toward the goal. 

I also think that we’ll be hard pressed to figure out how to use these wonders (beyond the basic kindergarten and grade one style of listening stations) until we are comfortable with audiobooks ourselves.  I mean, really — have you listened to an audiobook?  Do you know what its like?  Can you predict the problems, the pitfalls, or even the silly pleasures?  What are the advantages or disadvantages compared to regular printed books?  Will they work better for some kids are replacements or supplements?  We can’t hope to answer those questions until we’ve been consumers of audiobooks ourselves. 

So — ta da!!!  A free opportunity to try out an audiobook for yourself.  Simply Audiobooks offers a free download each month.  You will have to register and set up an account — but you can get a different free book each month. If you’re quick about it, the July download is “Children’s Story Hour.”  Have fun experimenting with audiobooks and be fresh and ready when the kids arrive.

Remember the Minilesson??

The Architecture of a Mini-Lesson (adapted, as always!)

  • Explain how today’s learning fits within the  current unit of study


  • State your teaching point.  Literally, say “Good readers……..”
  • Teach just one thing
  • Choose just one way to teach — there are always multiple ways to show kids something.  For a mini-lesson to remain “mini”, you need to select just one way of teaching.

Active Engagement:  Try it out

  • Give every student the opportunity to quickly try or discuss what has been taught.
    • Do not call on individual students.  Everyone must have a go at this.
  • This is NOT an assignment.  This is students talking and sharing together, right there on the rug.
  • Students do NOT go off and do something.  Everyone is trying this out together, right there in front of you.
  • Listen in on student conversations and comment/provide feedback.


  • Restate the teaching point and connect it to ongoing independent student reading work. This only takes 2-3 sentences
  • Students may or may not immediately apply this teaching point during their independent reading time.

Our Expectations for implementing the Minilesson portion of the Reading Workshop:

  • record the teaching point of your mini-lesson each day
    • plan book is fine
    • some kind of a log works too
    • some other daily record keeping
    • maybe even have the kids keep notes!!
  • reflect after each mini-lesson and rate the lesson
    • how “mini” was it?
    • was your teaching point crystal clear?
    • did it stick to just one tiny thing?
    • did you model it?
    • did all students try it out?
    • did you restate the teaching point?
    • did you encourage students to apply the teaching point during today’s reading