Reading workshop in the school library: Kanebogen School

Kanebogen Primary School in Harstad municipality, Northern Norway, has chosen to focus on reading workshops as part of its school library project. The model was initially developed for the 3rd grade, and is currently being applied as part of the resource-school project in the 7th grade.

In consultation with the students, the reading workshop for the seventh-graders has been given the name Multinorsk (‘Multi-Norwegian’). For two hours each week the students visit the library, where they are divided into groups of four, with two teachers attending. The groups are to some extent divided according to level, and they alternate between four stations according to a set schedule.

The reading workshops follow a regular routine, and each group has its own box containing all the equipment that the students need. A group leader is responsible for bringing the box from one station to the next. The workshops always start with a quiet session in the library, when the students assemble to listen to music.

Different stations

The first station is ‘the reading station’. The students sit in the library’s reading corner, and a teacher is always present. Kanebogen School is working with the reading programme Grip boka (‘Grasp the book’) for the 7th grade.

The programme aims to familiarize the students with various literary genres, and to teach them to identify descriptions of persons, places and passages with peaks of suspense in the literature they are reading. The students agree between them which book and how  many pages (50-90) they should read every week. As part of each reading workshop, the students write book reviews and discuss the books they have read.

Improve writing skills

At ‘the strategy station’, the students work on learning strategies for studying non-fiction texts. Multinorsk also focuses on improving the students’ writing skills, with the aid of a writing station. Here, the students should apply what they have learned about narrative techniques and practise constructing narratives with an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

The narratives should contain descriptions of people and places, and be able to capture the reader’s attention. As part of this station the students have brainstormed
writing assignments that currently amount to a bank of twenty assignments. The final station is referred to as ‘the drama station’. Here, the students practise reading aloud, they produce dramatizations and read fairy tales to the younger students.

The municipality’s role

For many years, Harstad Municipality has received acclaim for its systematic conceptual development and literacy training. The municipality’s literacy programme was initiated in 2010, and as part of the follow-up, all primary schools now have part-time reading mentors. Kanebogen School has linked its reading mentor to the development project, thus ensuring a good correlation between the school library and literacy training.

Journalist in the Norwegian School Library Programme University of Agder