Creative Teaching & Learning

The Unexpected Power of Reading Conferences

Engaged readers tend to talk about what they’re reading and discuss how they relate to it. Jori Krulder shows how to engage and inspire an authentic love of reading through one-to-one conferences with students.

‘I don’t read.’

At the beginning of the school year in my high school English classes, I always encounter at least a few students who adamantly declare their antipathy towards reading. When I first began teaching, over 20 years ago, this shocked me. I have long been an avid reader and the idea that someone could dislike such a pleasurable activity frankly mystified me. This speaks not only to my naivete, but also to how poorly teachers are often prepared to grapple with the teaching of reading. From my very first year of teaching, I recognised the urgency of helping students develop into readers, but it has been a career-long journey of trial and error and benefitting from the wisdom of brilliant educators such as Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle, Lucy Calkins, and the like before I began to achieve some notable success in this endeavour. My latest discovery has been the reading conference, a crucial piece in the puzzle that has taken reading instruction in my classroom to the next level.

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