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The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model

Model of Explicit Instruction
The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model:
The Power behind the Writing Workshop Approach

There has been a recent emphasis on best practice instruction, and many researchers have weighed in on what makes some instructional methods more effective than others. Sampling the literature on best practice, common themes emerge. A key theme is that instruction should begin with a high level of teacher support that is gradually removed until students work independently (Anderson 2000; Calkins 2003; Harvey & Goudvis 2007). This is commonly known as the gradual release of responsibility model (Pearson & Gallagher 1983). This model is sometimes explained in terms of the roles the teacher and students assume throughout instruction: I do (you watch); we do it (together); you do (I observe and assist); you do (I assess) (Pearson & Gallagher 1983).

The workshop approach utilizes the gradual release of responsibility model. Modeling and a short guided practice occur at the beginning of workshop during the whole group minilesson. During the workshop period, students work independently on their writing but receive additional guidance as they confer with the teacher in small groups or one-to-one conferences. This model or architecture leads to student independence.