If you have not already been conducting reading conferences with your students now is a good time to start.
Firstly you may need to focus on your students' reading interests and their choice of reading materials. As you find out about each student's interests make sure that the classroom library caters for these. Some students may need guidance in their choices of reading material, both in range of genres and in range of level of difficulty. It may be necessary to talk with the class about how ‘smart' readers choose material they can read and understand. (Students may already have a notion about who are ‘good' readers but those who are more less confident, will pretend they are reading material that is actually far too difficult for them, so the term ‘smart reader' can apply to anyone who is making wise choices about the texts they choose to read regardless of the texts' level of difficulty).
Gradually you will be introducing some important considerations:
Continue with your own students' reading conferences as you complete Unit 12, which involves observing two film clips from Monmia PS and two from Taylors Lakes Secondary College. As you view these film clips and others later in this course, you could continue to observe how the teachers include the major components of a conference by using the form Components of a Reading Conference: Observation Form or some other document they have devised to assist their note-taking.
Go to Film Clip:Monmia PS: Yr 1 Reading Conference with Airley Pahl and Mia
As you view the film clip at least twice, record your observations in your folder, particularly noting anything that will assist you with your conferences.
Read the comments made about this reading conference. Were you able to capture much of the same data? Make a comparison with your notes and this document.
Go to Film Clip:Monmia PS: Yr 4 Reading Conference with Lana Devlin & Michael
Again, as you view the film clip, record your observations.
Go to Film Clips:Taylors Lakes SC: Yr 9 Reading Conference with Lisa Wilson and Kenny
Use the observation form, to note the details of these conferences. (These conferences took place at the beginning of December, so this was almost the end of the school year).
Michelle has obviously been working on the comprehension strategy of summarising with her Yr 7 students. Summarising is not easy for many students and yet it is required in many subject areas, particularly in secondary schools. At this stage Michelle's class must have been learning about summarising fiction because of the focus on the 'who' (characters), 'what' (action or plot), 'when' and 'where' (setting), and 'why' (the theme). Ashvin is still retelling rather than summarising and so Michelle knows he needs to work on the summarising strategy still.
Refer to the documents Comprehension Overview and Main Comprehension Strategies which will be dealt with more in Unit 14 if you wish to know more about teaching summarising. You will find out that to teach comprehension strategies you will need to do a lot of modelling with many texts and with various text types, in every year level, and you need to also work collaboratively with the students before they should be expected to use the strategies independently.
The importance of summarising of various text types is because of the different structures of fiction and factual text; focusing on who, what, when, where and why will not work with factual texts, but as teachers we are continually learning more about how to improve our craft.
Note how important it is for the teacher to have a lot of knowledge about comprehension strategies to be able to evaluate their students' use of these strategies and discuss them during reading conferences. Most importantly, this knowledge is required for the teacher to teach comprehension strategies in the first place and for students to be able to articulate what they are able to do as users of those strategies. (Later in this course there is a focus on learning about comprehension and other reading strategies.)
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