- School: Augustus H. Burley Elementary School
- Text: A Teacher’s Guide to Reading Conferences by Jennifer Serravallo.
- Group Members: Shannon Barbour, Jodi Shapiro, Study Group Leader; Emily Skowronek, Todd Strother, Amy Wiktor
- Goal: To improve reading conferencing and conferencing frequency with students.
The goal of our study group was to improve reading conferencing and conferencing frequency with students. We read A Teacher’s Guide to Reading Conferences by Jennifer Seravallo. Overall, it was a comprehensive and useful text. The best part was the online resources through Heinneman. Not only were there blank PDFs, but there were also sample videos on how to best use the strategies discussed in the chapters. If a group were to use this book in the future, it may be helpful to read in conjunction with A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences also by Jennifer Seravallo, as well as A Guide to the Reading Workshop by Lucy Calkins. In our group, each member created a binder with blank sheets and conference notes. It was especially helpful to learn how to balance individual conferences with small group work, and the different types of conferences that happen. We learned that there were certain types of conferences that were more natural, others that would require more concerted planning to implement, and still others that we have been doing without realizing it. Our study group spent time analyzing our own practice within the realm of conferring and small groups, and found several helpful ways of tracking the frequency with which we meet with our students. Our goals evolved from meeting with every student weekly to working on understanding our individual student’s needs and planning to meet them. All of the teachers in the study group were upper elementary/middle school (grades 5-7) so it was great to be able to discuss and plan for conferences and small groups of older students which look and sound a little different than that of younger students. Overall, with a school focus on the workshop model this year, this helped the upper grades understand and implement a key part of the reading workshop.