One of the biggest shifts in the Common Core is this idea around students reading complex texts independently. It would be great if students could read those complex text independently, but not many of them can. It is with this in mind, that I devote ten minutes of each day to students reading independently. The other goal behind this, is a way for me to create a manageable system in my classroom of independent reading so students can increase their love and stamina of reading. Love and stamina are two ideas raised by Penny Kittle in her book Book Love, which many of these strategies come from.
As students are reading the first step is to pass around a clipboard with Daily Reading Chart. This chart has students write down the book they are reading and the page number. This is just a first step in creating a manageable system. The reason why students do this is so I can periodically check in with these charts to see if students are doing the reading they need to complete outside of class (which is two and a half hours a week). Here are Daily Chart Examples. I can quickly scan the chart during the week to see if I need to check-in with any student who may be lagging behind. It also helps me determine which students are not reading as much as maybe they should be why. Perhaps they are reading a book that is too challenging, or perhaps they are lower level students who need more support. This is also a way for students to hold themselves accountable.
Throughout the ten minutes I conference with students individually. These conferences are not long, at the most two or three minutes. I obviously don't get to each student but the hope is that I get to each student by the end of the week. As I conference with each student I refer to Questions For Daily Reading Conferences that I keep readily available. This I picked up from BookLove by Penny Kittle, a great resource for creating a classroom environment to further student reading. When I ask students these questions, I jot down notes to assist me in helping them along the path as readers. I refer back to these throughout the year. Sometimes these notes help me with recommendations and other times I refer back to these notes the following week to see if students implemented what we discussed. There are three different categories of questions: monitor a reading life, teaching a reading strategy, and increasing complexity and challenge.
Here are a few videos of examples of those conferences.
The questions I choose for the conference depend on the students as I listen to them to see where their needs are. Some students need work on creating a reading habit so those questions are crucial to do that. Others are ready to be challenged by thinking deeply about the novels, so those questions work best. I start simply by asking how's the reading going and I let the conference be student guided. I listen to what they need and work from there. Students need guidance as they work towards complex texts is this conference allows for that teacher guidance. Throughout the year, I can work towards asking more complex questions about more complex books that students are reading with the hope that they will be able to read complex texts independently.
This video shows Student Reflections On Daily Reading Time and Conferencing.