Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students

Unit 22

A Different type of conference

You should be very familiar with Components of a Reading Conference: Observation Form if you have been using it with your own students for some time now. Unit 22 requires you to use this form to practise recording two reading conferences. There are two film clips of two very different conferences taken in Gabrielle's classroom at Caroline Springs PS Brookside Campus.

Go to the form: Caroline Springs College: Yr 5 Brief Reading Conference with Gabrielle Stormont and Carina. Record the reading conference details on the components form as you watch the film clip for as many times as you need.

Go to Film Clip:

Caroline Springs College: Yr 5 Reading Conference with Gabrielle Stormont and Taylan

Record the reading conference details on the components form as you watch the film clip for as many times as you need.

Make a Venn diagram of two intersecting circles and record the similarities and the differences between the two conferences you have just viewed.

Go to: Description of the content of a film clip of a reading conference: Caroline Springs Gabrielle Stormont and Carina and go to: Description of the content of a film clip of a reading conference: Caroline Springs Gabrielle Stormont and Taylan

Compare your notes taken during the viewing of the film clips of the conferences with the descriptions in the documents and with your ideas in the Venn diagram. What had you noticed about the two types of conferences?

Over the next week or so practise doing some brief conferences as you rove about the room during Independent Reading. Often a brief encounter gives you enough information about a student's current reading and provides sufficient support for them to continue independently.

This may give you more time to have in-depth reading conferences with students who, at this point in time, need a longer time with you. Some students need the additional support of brief conferences in between the times you meet them for longer conferences.

Think about your students and their reading progress, and make a list of those who could be involved with brief reading conferences over the next week or two.

Go to Film Clips:

Warringa Park School: Whole Class Read-aloud with Catriona Toland

and Warringa Park School: Roving Conference with Catriona Toland & Sam.

View these film clips to firstly see the Read-aloud session with Catriona's class of 9-10 year old students, with a focus on revising vocabulary words that are high frequency words that will help the students to read that particular book. It is a familiar book that the students have enjoyed many times and the students know the meanings of the words selected. Apart from the group learning that is taking place you will notice that individual students have specific words that they are learning to recognise. So during the Independent Reading that follows each student has individual goals and in the clip showing Catriona's roving conference with Sam she is checking how Sam is going with his task, is able to listen to him read from his ebook copy of Rainbow Fish and provide instant feedback about his reading strategies. (You will notice that in this classroom there are some students who are verbal about everything they are doing, but these noises do not distract others from their reading.)

Brainstorm with colleagues to make a list of possible purposes you may have brief conferences with your students about, perhaps for the entire Independent Reading session or just part of it, allowing additional time for longer conferences.

They may focus on checking:

  • suitability of text selection for Independent Reading
  • students understand a specific goal that was set during the introduction to Independent Reading
  • students understand their personal goals and how best to achieve them
  • students are interested in and engaged in their reading

If you have set a specific goal you may be quickly assessing which students may need follow-up support in groups or as individuals.

Go to Film Clip:

Warringa Park School: Diane Snowball Interview with Catriona Toland

In this interview Catriona explains how her Read-aloud session links to the student's Independent Reading, how the use of the pictorial task boards help each student know what they need to be doing and the iPad is used in many ways to support their literacy work.

This is a class of students with many special needs but their achievements are a model for others to learn from. In particular, if you are teaching students who are beginning readers, in any age group, you could consider how you could use or adapt the ideas that are so successful at Warringa Park School.

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Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students