Margin Notes

Reading Conferences: Three Things I Know About You


I am working with a teacher in grade 8 on intentionally building a community of readers, writers, and thinkers, and now that we have shared our own reading identity numerous times with the students, we are ready to help them to know more about themselves as readers.

We were inspired once again by Anne Elliott and Mary Lynch’s book, Cultivating Readers, and tried out an idea they have on p.40 called, “Three Things Reading Conference”. We had administered a reading survey the second week of school and from this we gleaned three things we learned about each student, wrote it on a recipe card, and sat down to chat with them.

What we liked about starting with three things about them was that it lent validity to the reading survey (we actually used it for something rather than it just being a time filler or homework assignment), it was a gentle way to start our first conferences vs getting students to read from their book and ask them strategy/skill based questions, and the students felt connected to us through this simple act of caring and showing interest in them as readers.

We found the conversations full of helpful information to move the students to better recognize their own reading identity so they can become more adept at finding books they can enjoy. Plus, there were many assessment opportunities, especially in the area of reading strategies and behaviours.

Below are examples of the recipe cards with the initial information from the reading surveys (the bullets) and the anecdotal notes made after our first conversations:

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