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March 2018

Reading Conferences Made Easy with a TWIST!

We are so happy that you found our blog on Reading Conferences!

We love it when amazing educators, like you, find us! Before we begin we want to tell you that YOU ARE AMAZING! How do we know? We know you’re amazing because not all educators are out there scouring the web to find new ways to reach their students.

Not all educators see the value in Reading Conferences, but YOU do!

Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here!

We can’t wait to share with you the #1 way to grow a Reading Community!

Reading Conferences are the Number ONE Way to Grow a Reading Community! Find out HOW HERE!

What are Reading Conferences? Find out HERE!

What are Independent Reading Conferences?

You may have heard of Reading Conferences before, but maybe you’re not clear on what they actually are. Reading Conferences are simply a time that a teacher and student can come together and connect over a book. Reading Conferences last anywhere from 5-10 minutes. During this time, students share their thoughts and ideas about their independent reading. While students are independently reading, teachers plop down next to a student where they are, listen to them read a page and then have a conversation about the text they are reading. Teachers should listen to a page read aloud to check for fluency and to guarantee that the book is at an appropriate reading level for the student. The conversation afterwards ensures comprehension and also lets students know that the teacher values both them as a reader and reading itself.

What are the Types of Reading Conferences? Find out HERE!

The Types of Reading Conferences

Formal Reading Conferences

There are two types of Reading Conferences that we use in our classrooms… Formal and Informal. Formal conferences happen on a set date. Both the teacher and student know about this date and come prepared. Students come prepared with the materials required, such as their book, conference forms, or assignments, and the teacher comes prepared with their formal notes.

Informal Reading Conferences

Informal conferences are a spur of the moment meeting where the teachers plops down next to a student and starts a conversation about the book the student is reading. The observations during this type of conference can be written down if the teachers learns about anything profound, or these observations can just go into the teacher’s mental bank for the child.

How Often Should Reading Conferences Occur?

The goal of Reading Conferences is to meet with each student on a weekly basis, either formally or informally. We find this very manageable in a class size of 20 students. We, however, have 32 students. Meeting with every student on a weekly basis sounds a little overwhelming, right? Here’s what we do. In our classrooms, we plan to formally confer with each student once every two weeks. That means that, on average, we meet with 3-4 students each day. Since conferences are 5-10 minutes, we spend no more than 30 minutes conferring with our students. This is the perfect amount of time for their Independent Reading time! When we finish early, we pop around and do a few informal conferences when we can. We guarantee that our students will have a Reading Conference once every other week, and they will usually have an informal conference too. Therefore, for every two weeks, each student is getting one formal and one informal Reading Conference.  To us, this is very manageable and, trust us… YOU WILL SEE THE EFFECT IT WILL HAVE IN YOUR CLASSROOM!

Reading Conferences with a TWIST!

Reading Conferences with a TWIST!

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for… THE TWIST! Here is how our Reading Conferences are different from all the other Reading Conferences you have seen out there. Our Formal Reading Conferences are STUDENT LED! Student Led Formal Reading Conferences make all the difference! Let your students choose the standard they want to discuss with you! In our classrooms, we have Standards Based Reading Conference forms that each child fills out before their formal conference. Students have a choice between 22 versions. Just so you have an idea, some examples of these are plot, point of view, genre, and theme. When we sit down with a student, we allow students to take the reigns and lead the conference. Our students already have the talking points on their formal Reading Conference form. We sit back and listen to them be the expert on the standard they chose. While we are listening, we take notes on the student as a reader. If you need to keep the conference going, we have a set of question cards that have a list of questions for each standard. We simply turn to the card, pick a question and keep the conference going. If you notice, there was a whole lot of teacher listening and student talking. Teachers need to be an active listener. Be their “equal” during a Reading Conference. Hold back from talking at them and just listen to the reader. You will learn a lot more this way!

Reading Conferences are for EVERY Teacher, Yes, EVEN YOU! Avoid the Top Teacher Excuses for Not Conferring!

Top Teacher Excuses for NOT Conferring About Reading

  1. Reading Conferences are too much work.
  2. I don’t have time in my day for Reading Conferences
  3. I don’t know what to do during a Reading Conference

Did you agree with any of these Top Teacher Excuses? After reading this blog post, we hope that we have helped you with these “excuses.” Here is our advise to you. Reading Conferences sound like a scary topic, but to us, the only thing that is scary is a teacher who does not conduct Reading Conferences. Here is our plea to teachers. Try it. Try Reading Conferences. Start small and watch how good you get! Meet with a student about their Independent Reading. You will discover that you have never known your students better, both personally and as a reader. You will implement an individualized learning plan without even realizing it. Your students will see how much you care about them, along with reading. Your students will be pushed to the next level as a reader.

You will create a Reading Community that loves reading!


Let The Rigorous Owl Help!

Find out about the Benefits of Reading Conferences HERE!

Reading Conferences are the HEARTBEAT of a Reading Classroom! Find out more HERE!

Want to do Reading Conferences

The Rigorous Owl’s Way?
Reading Conferences in 6 Easy Steps

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Teachers Who Love Reading Would Also Love These Blog Posts…

The Reading Challenge that will Create Lifelong Readers

Small Group Instruction Using Picture Books!

Interactive Notebooks: A Love-Hate Relationship

Book Clubs for the Upper Elementary Classroom

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Small Group Instruction Using Picture Books!

Welcome to our blog post on how to make small group instruction less stressful for you, more engaging for your students and more meaningful throughout the year! Let’s get started!

No Small Group Instruction Stress Here!

Small Group Instruction Stress

We’ve all been there. We know we should be pulling small focus groups for students that are struggling to meet the standards on a daily basis.  It sounds so easy, but scrounging around and stressing about what to do with your students during small group instruction can deter a teacher from even pulling these important focus groups. Have we caught your attention? Does this sound familiar? This past year, we decided to do something about it to make our small group instruction less stressful! We can’t wait to share our solution with you!

Find out about the perfect resource for small group instruction here!

Standards Based Brochures for Small Group Instruction

Our solution to the stress associated with small group instruction was to create a standards based brochure (or tri-fold) for our standards. Our entire year of small group instruction would be done in one easy step! Standards based brochures are a ready-to-use resource that we can simply grab and use! They are seriously as simple as that. We copy the brochures and have them ready to use in our small group instruction. Students bring a book and we are ready for small group instruction success!

Choose your standard and teach! It's that simple!

Materials for Small Group Instruction

The materials required for our small group instruction consist of brochures relating to the standard, pencils and picture books! Here’s why we love using picture books. Picture books hardly get any recognition in the upper grade classroom. We want our students reading chapter books, chapter books and more chapter books. But what about picture books? Picture books are an amazing way to get an entire story in a short amount of time! You can quickly touch on author’s craft, parts of the plot, and then focus in on your targeted standard. The most important reason that we love to read picture books during small group instruction is that they are engaging!

Standards based brochures are perfect for picture books!

Standards Based Brochures Will Save Your Sanity

Small group instruction is not the only way to use our standards based brochures… it just happens to be our favorite! Standards based brochures have other uses inside of the classroom. Have you ever had a hand go up and a student say, “Teacher, I’m done. Now what?” BWAHAHAHAHA… of course you have! You’re a teacher! Well, this question can have a teacher losing their mind on a daily basis and multiple times a day! Standards based brochures have been a life-saver in our classrooms and we know they will be a life-saver in your classroom too!

The answer to, "Teacher, I'm Done! Now What?"

Students love standards based brochures because it allows them to have choice in the standard that they want to focus on. As we teach a standard, we add the choice to our display in the back of our room. Students know that they can choose anything in the display. They choose a brochure, grab a book and get to work! Students are able to practice the standard five times with five different books!

A Ready-to-Use Resource Perfect for Early Finishers

An Added Bonus

Don’t you just love the parents that ask, “How can I help my child master the standards you are teaching in the classroom at home?” We love parents that want to get involved and help their child, but we don’t always have an easy answer for them. Standards based brochures have been our saving grace! We hand these amazing and wonderful parents our brochure and they are sent off to practice exactly what we are doing in the classroom at home with their child! These are great for Parent-Teacher Conferences! We also love to send home brochures attached to progress reports or tests that were not proficient. Your parents will think you’ve got it all figured out!

School to Home Connection SUCCESS!

The Many Possibilities of Standards Based Brochures

Standards based brochures are the perfect solution to many problems that teachers have in the classroom. Small group instruction, centers, early finishers, intervention, and school-to-home connections can leave teachers feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. We have found that having these brochures have solved many problems.

A Resource Perfect for Centers, Enrichment, Small Groups or Intervention

The main reason why we love these brochures is that our students love them.

They are perfect for practicing and reviewing standards all year long and they keep our students engaged!

What more could a teacher ask for?

An engaging way to practice your standards all year long!

Interested in Grabbing this for Yourself?

Click the image below!

Standards Based Brochures

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Looking for other ways to lessen the stress in your classroom?

Secrets to Interactive Notebooks Revealed!

Book Clubs in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Engaging Reading Challenge!