Conferring with Readers to Develop Reading Proficiency

Sandra Ann Goettelman, The College at Brockport


The purpose of this research study is to determine the ways in which reading conferences help students develop reading proficiency. Reading conferences are one-to-one work with a student in which instruction is individualized to support the reader and help to elevate the student to be able to flexibly call upon a number of strategies to problem solve. The research questions will focus on the ways in which students incorporate feedback on decoding, fluency, and comprehension in their oral reading. The degree to which the reading conference fosters independence for students will also be examined. In addition, the efficiency and effectiveness of the reading conference will be explored.

The focal students in this study represent varying levels of achievement in reading. They attend a suburban school in Western New York. Their Reader's Workshop features independent reading, guided reading, and a response to literature block. Data collection methods included audio-recorded transcript of each conference, conference logs, and student interviews. The data collection phase took place over five weeks.

Recommendations from this study tentatively suggest that teachers should utilize reading conferences in their classroom with students of varying reading needs. Teachers should hold students accountable for their learning to help them become metacognitive of their strategy-use. When students take responsibility for their learning, they are able to transfer their knowledge across various domains.