Reading conferences were some of my favorite interactions with my students during my time teaching middle school English. Walking around my classroom, conferring with my students about what they were reading, talking to them about their questions and reactions to the texts they were digging into provided me the luxury of talking to every kid quietly, personally, and in more depth than what was possible in a whole-class discussion setting. From an educational theory standpoint, reading conferences are indispensable features of a text-rich, literacy-focused classroom. Talking with students one-on-one about their reading provides opportunities to differentiate instruction, scaffold higher-order thinking, and diagnostically address student confusion in a conversational, low-stress environment. I found this fantastic video from the Teaching Channel of reading conferences in action, and wanted to share it:
In this video, we see Rick Kleine, 5th grade teacher in Berkeley, CA interacting with his students as they read independently in a readers’ workshop. Kleine helps his students decode difficult words, provides structured reminders of specific reading strategies, and extends students’ understanding of the texts they read beyond the words on the page. The structure of his reading workshops provides time for his students to reflect on their reading, while also tracking their progress and stamina.
Brain Hive’s digital eReader provides excellent tools to help you facilitate readers’ workshops and reading conferences in your classroom. Here are just a few of the Brain Hive’s features that will support your one-on-one discussions with students about their reading:
- Let students pick their books for independent reading during readers’ workshop. Brain Hive’s large library of fiction and non-fiction eBooks allows you to support differentiated instruction in your classroom. Using Brain Hive, your students will be able to find titles that interest them, at their reading level, accessible from almost any internet-connected device (so they can never lose their books for class!).
- Encourage students to use the eReader’s digital tools to interact with the texts they are reading. Students can highlight passages that strike them as particularly important, use the notes feature to record questions and connections they make to their own background knowledge, and use Brain Hive’s built-in dictionary to help them understand unfamiliar words. During your reading conferences, students can refer to these highlighted passages and notes as they discuss their reading experiences with you.
- Use Brain Hive’s built-in reporting feature to help students track their reading progress and stamina (see below). Confer with students as they reflect on their progress over the course of the year by looking at both the time they have spent reading, as well as the number of pages they have read while using the Brain Hive eReader.
Reading conferences are incredibly valuable for students as they build and refine their reading skills, and they are deeply enriching for teachers who conduct them. We hope that Brain Hive can help you as you build these important experiences into your lesson planning.
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