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Tackle the Hard Parts of Independent Reading: Giving Specific Feedback When You Don’t Know the Book, Holding Readers Accountable, Raising Reading Levels, Igniting Enthusiasm

Jan 23, 2025
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Date: Thursday, January 23, 2025

Time: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM ET

Location: Online, via Zoom

Who Should Attend: Grades 3-8 teachers and coaches

Cost: $150 per person

Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, said that great leaders “face the brutal facts with undying optimism.” Great teachers do that as well. As teachers, however, it is essential that we all step back from teaching and look at the facts with clarity and honesty, yet still with great hope.

Looking honestly at the feedback we give kids as they read, we want to be sure to give feedback that is concrete and helpful enough that it actually accelerates kids’ learning. On this day, we’ll help you feel more confident in your knowledge of the work kids need to be doing at varied levels of text complexity, while reading different genres, and at the beginning, middle and end of books, so that you have a criteria in mind with which to assess your readers’ work and clear next steps you can suggest. We’ll also help you to consider ways in which your feedback to readers can be part of a larger, more sustained plan for them, and we’ll share ways you can follow up and build upon your feedback.  

We’ll help you develop a toolkit of resources that you can draw upon as you confer, so that you can leave tangible reminders of your teaching, and so you make it more likely that kids keep next-step guidance in mind as they continue to read. As part of this, we’ll help you identify some short texts that you return to over and over, so that you can watch your kids work in a text you know well. 

Finally, we’ll help you consider ways to offer more support for kids who need that, doing so in ways which are affirmative. We'll also focus on strategies to confidently guide your students' reading journeys, even when you don’t know every book in their hands. You will leave this day ready to facilitate the growth and understanding in your students' reading journeys. 

Across this day, expect to:

  • Reflect on the feedback we provide to readers and learn ways to clearly name where students are, what they need to do next, and concrete steps to accelerate reading growth. 

  • Get to know the major differences between the bands of text complexity, including differences related to meaning, sentence structure, and language demands.

  • Consider how you can use partnerships to encourage students to support one another in regularly practicing the work you’ve set them up to do and to check in periodically on reading goals.

  • Discuss the role of short, shared texts in helping introduce kids to the challenges of a new band of text complexity or new genre and hear about our new favorites to add to your reading toolkit.

  • Rethink your expectations of ways to hold kids accountable for doing important work during reading, including rethinking writing about reading and reading logs.

  • Explore text complexity and reading skills to better appreciate the reading challenges your students face. Learn about the elements that challenge readers to use their skills and that contribute to a text's complexity.

  • Learn to match books with students’ reading abilities, ensuring that kids are appropriately challenged without being overwhelmed. This balance is key to maintaining student interest and promoting growth in reading skills.

  • Gain confidence in leading discussions and probing for deeper understanding with questions that are insightful, regardless of your familiarity with a specific book.