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First Reading Conference With Students

After you've invited students to complete two or three getting-to-know you pieces, you can use the information gathered to develop a focus for your first reading conference. The purpose of these conferences is to take you deeper into students' attitudes toward reading so you can support them by helping them select books and improve their skills.
For example, when an eighth grader wrote that reading was "annoying" on his survey, I asked him in our first conference what he meant by that comment. His response helped me support him: "I read so slow. I'm the last one done. Reading homework takes too much time. I avoid reading." What I discovered was that this student was reading three years below grade level and struggling with textbooks in content subjects and a whole class novel in English class. Offering him choices of books he could read and enjoy, books on topics that he cared about, improved his reading rate and his desire to read. Though the texts were below grade level, the student applied all the skills and strategies that were eighth-grade requirements.
Laura Robb

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in The Laura Robb Blog are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.