I’m back for more on reading conferences. In my first post of this series, I share some ways to plan and organize for reading conferences by collecting data. Last week in part two, I wrote about different types of conferences you might have with your students, with the plan of meeting with all students at least once a week. This week, I’d like to share more about goal setting and tracking.
After you and the students have decided on a goal, it is important to have some accountability, both for the student in practicing the goal and the teacher for monitoring the goal.
I keep my notes on the iPad. I know this will not work for everyone. However, I thought it might be helpful to share a screenshot of the types of notes I take so you can see the categories. I do think it’s important to incorporate compliments in every conference and make the teaching point a skill that will build off of the compliment.
I usually take a photo and include it to show the notes I left for the student. You could just as easily jot that on your form. Here is a sample of a reminder I might leave for the hypothetical student above.
I searched for some other quality record keeping ideas. There is a great free form here. You can also try keeping notes on labels and sticking them in student folders/sections in your binder. The Colorful Apple has a post that does a great job explaining this method. You can read that post here.
One of my biggest takeaways from Jennifer Seravallo’s book, A Teacher’s Guide to Reading Conferences is the importance of keeping goals visible. She shares some great ideas to do this, and I am now inspired to rethink the way I organize my reading folders. On the left students will keep a half sheet of tag board with the students’ current goal and strategies. On the right side, students will keep their reading log. If students keep their reading folders with them during independent reading, it will be much easier for me to have a conversation with them about their current goals, and check in with them on their reading logs. (I used to keep reading logs in data notebooks, and the process for completing them was a bit to cumbersome to consistently maintain.) My plan is for the folders to look like this.
The goals will be determined at goal-setting conferences (described here.) I will certainly do some coaching to make sure students have a goal that is relevant and attainable. In addition to assessing and conferring, I will use this chart to help decide appropriate goals.
I plan to start at the top of the hierarchy as much as possible. Within each goal, I will build on a strength. For example if a students is reading in longer phrases and stopping appropriately at punctuation, but not reading with expression, the goal would be fluency, and the strategy could be to pay attention to the dialogue in the story.
This is the final post of the mini-series on reading conferences. However, I will be sure to check back in at some point during the school year to let you know how the changes I have made are working. I also have a post planned for August that will share my reorganized conferring binder. Next week, I will share June Favorites. This month, I will include resources, tip, and tricks that I have discovered this month and am excited to use next year.
If you missed the previous posts on reading conferences, you can check them out below.