CONFERRING: A Quick Reference Guide to Conferring With Readers

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

According to Jennifer Serravallo and Gravity Goldberg in Conferring with Readers, there are 4 parts of a reading conference:





Why do these 4 steps seem like they will be so difficult and time consuming?

Keep this in mind...

Conferring with readers doesn't have to be as time consuming and as difficult as it sounds. Check out these reminders and tips for moving through the steps for conferring with readers.

Here's a quick glance at the 4 steps of the conferring cycle set out by Jennifer Serravallo... It's a free download at Teachers Pay Teachers. Just click on the image.


The idea that surrounds research the reader is to find that one idea that will help the reader move forward.

So, before conferring with a student, the teacher needs to get to know the reader individually.

Research comes in many forms depending on the goals of the reader. Teachers get to know their readers in variety of ways.

Frame researching the reader with these 3 ideas...

  • Look through your previous conferring notes and records for the child to establish a quick picture of the reader. If you keep a literacy portfolio for each of your students, this will provide a way to quickly see how the reader is currently using strategies in their independent reading.

  • Browse through student reading work in their reader's notebook

  • Engage and interact with the student


Don't let this part of conferring take so much time. Take one thing that you know will help the reader move forward in any text they read. You know the reader best!

When you choose one thing to teach in the conference, decide how you will do it...

  • Teach something new

  • Follow up on previous teaching

  • Build on previous work because the reader is ready


During the research phase of the conference cycle, the teacher has gotten to know the reader individually.

Recognize what the reader is doing well and keep compliments relevant and genuine about the student's current reading work.

Stay away from complimenting what the reader consistently does well.

Compliments should be about the strategy and skill practice the student is doing well at this time.

Be sure to compliment the approximations the reader is making within his or her current learning.


As you prepare to teach the reader a strategy to help them propel forward, keep the reading goal for the reader in mind. Several strategies can be used...

  • Demonstration Teaching is when the teacher shows the reader how to use a strategy within a piece of text. The teacher must name the strategy, think aloud during the process of using the strategy as a proficient reader does and then, restate the strategy and make it usable in all books.

  • Example and Explanation teaching is when a teacher provides more support for a strategy that has already been taught. References can be made back to previous teachings (minilessons, shared readings, read alouds, etc) of the particular strategy being taught within the conference. The teacher reminds the reader of how we used the strategy together through an explanation using a text from a previous reading experience.

  • Coaching is a teaching method in which the reader works through the strategy independently while the teacher listens in and provides guidance and support when necessary. The student does all the work in this type conference teaching.

Grab this handy reference guide now...

Click on the graphic to download and print the quick reference conferring guide to keep in your conferring notes folder or on your conferring clipboard. You can download it at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Pack your instructional toolkit with easy to use progress monitoring tools to track readers.

Until next time...

#conferring #readersworkshop

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