Conferring with students in order to discover who they are as a reader allows you to have a glimpse into their reading journey. This was my goal today as I conferred with 2nd graders, third graders, fourth graders, and fifth graders. I met many students at different levels of their journey as I posed the question, “What are you thinking about while you read today?”
Second grade: I met a second grade partner group where one student was reading to the other and would stop and share his questions. Then, he’d ask his partner if he had any questions. I met a second grade boy who only picked a book because it was in his level and was still struggling to read it. We found a book that was more his style and reading level.
Third grade: I met a girl who explained to me that she was thinking about questions and answers in her book about Thomas Jefferson. As a roamed the room I met a boy who was reading “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and laughing out loud. My curiosity got the best of me and I went over to chat with him. He explained to me he only reads “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. When I asked him why he said, “It makes me laugh and I like that”. Makes sense to me. I went on to find out that he was thinking about what lesson was being taught.
Fourth grade: Here I spoke to a boy who did not know what I meant by “What are you thinking about while you read today?”. After much coercing and questioning I found out that he was trying to figure out how certain football teams won the Superbowl. Together, we determined this could be his essential question and he could gather notes around the topic. This made him pretty excited. I also chatted with a girl who was using FQR to guide her thinking and another girl who was recording key ideas.
This small glimpse into these children’s reading journey opened my eyes to who they were as readers, where they are at, and where they can be going. More importantly it made me celebrate them (and their teachers)for having a reading identity, having stamina, having engagement, and thinking like a reader.
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be presented as a precious gift.” Kate Dicamillo
I’m participating in Slice of Life Story Challenge every day in March! Check it out at https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/