Reading Conferences

Reflection #2 - Alex Jones

Five Minutes Well Spent

I have absolutely loved taking my Reading Part 1 course this summer! I have experienced great learning over the past three weeks and am looking forward to putting my new learning into action in my classroom. I am especially excited to jump into reading conferences. Spending 5 minutes a day with a student will give me a vast amount of insight and data into their needs and interests. In this "SMORE" I have summarized my learning with the intention of sharing this document with my colleagues who are also looking to integrate reading conferences into their balanced literacy program.

What Does a Reading Conference Look Like?

  • 1-3 students and the teacher
  • Approximately 5 minutes in length
  • Can take place at any table or the student's desk
  • Post a schedule letting students know the date of their conference
  • The session should have a purpose/focus
  • They are informal

Reading Conference Styles

Informal Reading Conference

Set a purpose for the conference with the student, set a goal, read with the student (can be modelled, shared, or listen to the student read), discuss strategy, student writes goal in his/her reading notebook.

Running Record Reading Conference

Introduce the text, student reads text independently, conference after the student has finished the book and conduct a running record, discuss the text focussing on a specific goal.

A Conference with Reading Partners

Partner students up and give them an opportunity to read together, observe their behaviours, step in to redirect conference only when needed.

A Conference with Routine Sample Questions

Students are familiar with the routine questions and success criteria. These 5 questions guide discussion and teacher focuses on one specific goal.

  1. Why did you choose this book?
  2. What is the reading level of the book for you?
  3. Tell me what the book is about so far.
  4. Let's discuss your strengths and what you need to work on.
  5. How long do you think it will take you to finish this book?

Reading Strategies

It's important for the teacher to have a specific goal or purpose for each reading conference. This goal should be individualized to meet the student's strengths and needs. Below are reading strategies you may choose to focus on during your conference. The strategies are broken down into the four roles of the literate learner.

Code User

  • Chunking
  • Sound it Out
  • Word Families
  • Punctuation
  • Use your Pointer Finger to Read

Meaning Maker

  • Connecting
  • Questioning
  • Visualizing
  • Inferring
  • Predicting
  • Retell
  • Determining Importance
  • Main Idea
  • Skip the Word and Read On
  • Context Clues
  • Pause and Check

Text User

  • Captions
  • Text Features
  • Dictionary
  • Meta Cognition

Text Analyzer

  • Point of View
  • Character Analyzing
  • Synthesizing
  • Inferring

When Can Students Request a Conference?

Students can request a reading conference with you at any time. They may want to request a conference when:

  • The student is looking for a new independent reading text
  • The student wants some help/clarification with reading strategies
  • The student is having difficulty with a text
  • The student is looking to explore or new genre or series


I still have a few questions around organizing assessment and observations during a reading conference. I've attached two templates that I think will help me get going with reading conferences. I will modify them as I go and learn. (The links are below).
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