There are many avenues for a teacher to convey information to a student; an individual reading or writing conference is one place the student may convey information to a teacher.

Gholdy Muhammad, in Cultivating Genius (Scholastic, 2020), recounts how in the 19th century, African Americans formed literary societies of their own in response to anti-literacy laws and policies. They defined one of their primary goals, or learning pursuits, as identity development through literacy. When we consciously balance what-the-words-on-the-page-say with what-you-the-reader-thinks, not prioritizing one over the other, students feel more engaged and think more deeply. Similarly, when we approach the teaching of writing as a place for students to develop and express their own unique perspectives, cultures, and points of view, they experience writing as a mode of personal expression and work harder and with more investment. They also develop a sense of their own individual reading and writing personalities. Am I the sort of reader who compares my decisions to those of the main character? Do I mix in talking-to-the-reader with facts when I write persuasively?

The key to conferring successfully is listening to children, but in a different way than we may be used to. Naturally it is important to assess through the lens of standards and year-end expectations-but it’s also critical to understand who each individual student is as a reader and writer.

There have been books and workshops about individual writing conferences, and there have been books and workshops about individual reading conferences. In the day to day life of a classroom however, most teachers are doing both, with the same group of students - and many of the basic moves are the same.

Lucy Calkins has famously said we should teach children to “read like writers and write like readers.” Individual conferences are perhaps the best place to help students understand these connections and make links between their reading and their writing. Moreover, they are a powerful way to teach students “to shape their own ideas through acts of literacy” (Muhammad 2020).

In this interactive, four part workshop, Dan Feigelson will provide teachers Grades 2-8 with basic, step-wise structures for both reading and writing conferences, focusing in depth on their similarities and differences. He will go over strategies for diagnostic listening and goal setting, and suggest practical, classroom-ready tips for making conferring powerful and productive. Most importantly, he will suggest realistic, concrete ways to use individual conferences as a way to honor student identity and help children become critical, independent thinkers.
Learning Objectives
SESSION 1 - Conferring basics
  • Introduction:Principles of Listening
  • Why confer? Literacy and Student Identity
  • Reading and Writing Conferences:Similarities and Differences
  • Teaching to the partial understanding
SESSION 2 – Reading conferences
  • Learning the content of comprehension
  • Teacher reading activity (experience what students experience), debrief
  • Structure of a reading conference
  • Teacher as diagnostician
  • ‘Go to’ reading conferences
SESSION 3 - Writing conferences
  • Qualities of writing:What exactly do we want to teach?
  • Teacher writing activity (experience what students experience), debrief
  • Structure of a writing conference
  • Planning, drafting, and revision:conferring into the writing cycle
SESSION 4 - Nuts and Bolts
  • Opportunities for reading-writing connections
  • Building a repertoire:Go-to reading-writing conferences
  • Scaffolding conferring work through partnerships, book clubs, and read aloud conversations
  • Record keeping and assessment
  • Planning for conferring
  • Time management tips
  • Routines and strategies for sharing (and celebrating!) conferring work, online and in-person
Teacher of Grades 2-8, literacy coaches, reading and language arts specialists, curriculum coordinators, and administrators
Dan Feigelson has worked extensively in New York City schools as a teacher, staff developer, curriculum writer, principal, and local superintendent. An early member of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, he leads institutes, workshops and lab-sites around the world on the teaching of reading and writing. A regular presenter at national and international conferences, Dan is the author of Radical Listening: Reading and Writing Conferences to Reach All Students (Scholastic 2022), Reading Projects Reimagined: Student-Driven Conferences to Deepen Critical Thinking (Heinemann 2015), and Practical Punctuation: Lessons in Rule Making and Rule Breaking in Elementary Writing (Heinemann 2009). He lives in Harlem and Columbia County, New York.

11th, 18th, 25th March & 1st April 2024

Each session is for 2 hours.

11th, 18th, 25th March 2024
New York 5:00 am | London 9:00 am | Zurich 10:00 am | Dubai 1:00 pm | India 2:30 pm | Hong Kong 5:00 pm
Melbourne 8:00 pm

1st April 2024
New York 5:00 am | London 10:00 am | Zurich 11:00 am | Dubai 1:00 pm | India 2:30 pm | Hong Kong 5:00 pm
Melbourne 8:00 pm

Please click here to check your time for the workshop
USD 400 Per Participant
INCLUDES: Certificate of Participation for 10 Professional Development hours.
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