Please watch the videos below. They offer some insight into what independent reading and conferring may look like for you.
Independent reading and conferring are the final components of the Workshop Model. It offers support for generating a literacy program by highlighting promising practices, assessment and planning tools to support the diverse needs of our learners and includes a balance of instructional approaches through ongoing, formative assessments that respond to individual needs.
What is independent reading?
During independent reading, students engage with texts (like books, magazines, articles) of their choosing for a sustained amount of time. Independent reading encourages students practice and apply the reading strategies they experienced during the other stages of our literacy framework. The goals of independent reading are to have our students read for joy, develop reading interests and independently practice the reading process. As our learners read, they use appropriate self selected strategies and we as teachers support our readers through conferring.
What is conferring?
Conferring is having a genuine and meaningful conversations with a student to develop a sense of where they are at with independent reading and what feedback we can offer so they can move forward with their learning. We listen to their thinking, talk about their reading and provide personalized support to hone their individual reading process. By creating a safe conferring environment, we help readers adapt and develop their own skills and strategies as they explore text. We sit with our learners and dig deeper to individualize instruction and support our learners where they are at within the reading process and the time we spend together is productive, authentic and relevant.
Why independent reading is important?
Independent reading offers opportunity for students to develop habits, attitudes and tastes as a reader and allows students to read and enjoy texts. As students independently read more, they build stamina and can use the entire strategic process to generate comprehension and meaning. It reinforces the progress of learning through the other instructional tools at within our responsive literacy framework.
Why is conferring important?
Conferencing with our students allows us to understand our students' processing and growth. As we listen to their responses before, during and after engaging with a text and ask questions to further their thinking, we discover their strengths and challenges. We can use this time to listen to a student read aloud, teach specific strategies, ask them to interpret, analyze or evaluate texts or synthesize ideas and information to uncover what students think of reading and themselves as readers. We can also discover our reader's stamina and ethic and explore the reading process and to gather formative assessment so we are able to offer feedback to further our students' reading skills and thinking skills.
What does independent reading look like?
Each reader, who is free to choose any text, selects reading material. After a period of independent reading time, students share their thinking through various modes (writing, talking, drawing, representing). Ask students to offer summaries or book talks on what they are reading to encourage others to select their text or introduce different genres or writers or audience in small book teasers to diversify the students' tastes and experiences.. Allow your learners to find comfortable spaces around the room to relax and model different postures for different reading and create different reading environments within the room. Ensure independent reading is regularly scheduled part of the daily routine and find different modes to hold the learners accountable. .
What does conferring look like?
We can pull up a chair and sit next to our readers or sit face to face, or call them to sit with you at a table or desk. In low voices, prompt the student to share their thinking around the text. Through the direct prompting, we can review what the student is reading, make further suggestions for similar texts, sample oral reading - accuracy and fluency, teach or review specific strategies - inferencing, summarizing, predicting, and questioning and formatively assess literacy competencies - extracting information, analyze text, make connections, justify and defend.