Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students

Unit 23

Interview with a year 3/4 teacher and viewing other conferences

The following film clips will provide you with more perspectives on Independent Reading and reading conferences as you view Cathy Millar at Werribee PS talking to literacy consultant Julie Bennett about her beliefs and practices for Independent Reading and reading conferences and other aspects of her literacy work. This will be followed by Cathy conducting a reading conference with Natalie.

Go to Film Clip:

Werribee PS: Yr 3/4 Julie Bennett and Cathy Millar Interview

Cathy shares the journey she has taken with her Grade 3-4 students in organising strong Independent Reading sessions. She explains to Julie the importance of establishing a resource-rich classroom library first. She emphasises how she demonstrated to her students how to use the library establishing classroom protocols.

Independent Reading lessons begin with a focus on comprehension strategies in Cathy's classroom.

You will notice that Cathy is now aware of the power of conferencing. She states that it drives her reading teaching. She admits to making assumptions about her students' reading in the past. Reading conferences have allowed her to more accurately ‘see' her students as individual readers.

Cathy also mentions that she has learned so much as a teacher, having the benefit of a literacy coach in the school, and being able to visit other schools to learn more about Independent Reading practices. If you are not already doing so, try to set up visits to other teachers who are conducting reading conferences and allow others to visit you. Clarify issues together and provide helpful feedback for each other. Use the expertise of knowledgeable coaches and consultants when you can.

Go to Film Clip:

Werribee PS: Yr 4 Reading Conference with Cathy Millar and Natalie

Before you view the clip think about what you have learned about Cathy's Independent Reading sessions, and the importance she places on reading conferences. As you view the film clip take particular note of the above points and any other interesting ideas or approaches you might incorporate into your practices.

During the viewing note how Cathy helped Natalie to ‘grow' as a reader. Cathy understands that her students need to develop reading strategies to read with meaning, independent of her support.

Notice what role Natalie played in the reading conference.

With what personal goal did the reading conference conclude?

Try to capture the useful Clarifying Word Chart that Natalie was using.

Cathy teaches explicit strategies to help her students with reading. Summarise the strategy that Cathy taught Natalie in this reading conference.

Were you able to make any connections between Cathy's interview with Julie about her Independent Reading and her reading conference with Natalie? Note anything that would help you with your literacy work.

Some Year 2 Conferences

Two more film clips will help you to see more teaching practice for Independent Reading and reading conferences.

Go to Film Clip:

Movelle PS: Yr2 Nazlia and Linda Conference

and Film Clip:

Altona College: Yr 2 Chris and Darcy Conference

Note the prompts that each teacher is using in the Reading conferences. Reflect on the following:

  • What were the similarities in their conferences?
  • What did you notice about how the teacher individualised each reading conference?
  • What prompts did the teachers use to focus on the students' reading strategies?
  • What prompts have you been using to give your students some strategies that are useful in solving reading problems?
  • How are your students gaining a sense of responsibility for their reading as they use the strategies you have taught?

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Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students