What is Literacy Workshop?Research suggests that time spent reading silently drops significantly during the tween and early teen years. Sports, clubs, friends and work compete for their attention, leaving little time for silent reading. As a result, just as the reading task gets harder, most students read less. How are they going to meet the demands of higher level reading if they don't practice?Literacy Workshop is a full-year graded class that all sixth graders take. It supports the New York State ELA Curriculum and gives students an opportunity to practice critical reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. By giving students the freedom to choose their own books, quiet time to read during class, expert guidance and strategy instruction, and opportunities to discuss what they have read, Seaford Middle School has reversed the trend commonly seen nationwide. Our students are reading, writing and discussing books more than ever. Books are swapped in the hallways, library circulation is up, and students are overheard in the cafeteria talking about their favorite reads.Parent support continues to be vital to the success of middle schoolers.The nightly ritual of the bedtime story that reinforced children's skills takes on new importance. By encouraging tweens to read silently every night, parents are helping their children become mature, critical readers. By reading titles that their children recommend and then discussing characters and themes, parents enrich literacy skills and families draw closer. The pre-teen years are turbulent times, but books can build bridges and open roads.Literacy Workshop can be an eye-opening experience for even the most reluctant readers. As they explore new genres, authors and ideas, students learn that reading, writing and discussion can be enjoyable and enlightening.