Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spotlight on Reading Conferences

... a guest blog post by Kristyn Sullivan.

What is it?
Reading conferences are planned talks or discussions with students about their reading. Teacher will make an anecdotal record of the discussion and next steps.

Why is it used?
The purpose of reading conferences for students:
  • to be able to read or discuss what they are reading
  • build a love of reading
  • set goals for his or her reading
The purpose of reading conferences for teachers:
  • to be able to offer feedback and suggestions for improvement
  • help the student to success appropriate reading material
  • observe or discuss students’ reading; note strengths and weaknesses and engagement
  • encourage a love of reading
  • help students to set goals
  • plan future instruction
How can it be used?
Conferences can be used daily. The teacher can set up a time during an independent work period to conference with 2 or 3 students individually per day.

Conferences should be modeled at the beginning of the year so the students know what to expect during one.

How it can be adapted?
Reading conferences can be adapted for students using the following strategies:
  • Simplified vocabulary
  • Visual aids
  • Drawing pictures
  • Could have another student sit in to translate the student's ideas
How can you apply the information for your Balanced Reading program?
  • Insight is gained into student’s interests and attitudes towards reading, which will help to build a classroom library engaging to all students.
  • Observations taken during reading instructions based on the strategies students have used to read, will help to guide future lessons and areas of focus.
  • Observations taken regarding comprehension will help to build future lessons, success criteria and activities around areas of needs.
  • Assessment data taken during conferences will helps to determine the focus for future lessons, shared or guided reading sessions.
  • Importantly, the anecdotal comments will help to effectively group students for smaller or guided reading sessions.
How can you use this information to communicate with students?
This information can be communicated to students through descriptive feedback, future conferences, as well as through future lessons.

How can you use this information to communicate with parents?
This information could be communicated with parents during interviews, or other meetings. This information could be reflected in a “how to help” pamphlet that could be sent home to parents with tips on helping their children practice their reading skills and comprehension at home. 

A Sample Template 
Reading Conference Anecdotal Notes

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