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Don’t neglect connectives like “even though”

BUT. DESPITE. WHEREAS. ALTHOUGH. IN CONTRAST. INSTEAD. HOWEVER. YET. WHILE. NEVERTHELESS. NOTWITHSTANDING. Our students may gloss over these words as they read, not realizing how powerful they are. Words like these signal a causal relationship that is in opposition to what a reader might have expected. These words are a BIG DEAL. Technically they’re called …Read more

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Conferring Tip #4: Check for Higher-Level Thinking

If I know a reader understands what has been explicitly stated in a section of an informational text, then I check for inferential or interpretive understanding. This includes asking questions like: “Why do you think the author included these key details?” “What do you think the author’s main idea in this section is?” Sample Conference …Read more

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Conferring Tip #3: Ask a simple question to check comprehension

If I’ve leaned in to listen to a transitional stage reader and they do not have any word solving issues (and their fluency is adequate), I start with one of these two questions to check comprehension: What did you just learn in this part? (for non-narrative) What just happened in this part? (for narrative) These …Read more

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Conferring Tip #2: Assess Fluency

Truth #1 – When a student is reading nonfiction, their rate may slow down when they are making sense of harder parts and speed up when they are making sense of easier parts. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL! It means they are attempting to monitor for meaning making!!!! Truth #2 – A student may never read as …Read more

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Conferring Tip #1: When readers get stuck on a word, teach for cross-checking.

Our students may need a reminder to use multiple sources of information to figure out a word – meaning cues (context & pic clues), visual cues (the letters in a word), and syntax cues (how the language sounds). They may need to learn to ask questions like: Does that make sense? Does that look right? …Read more

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Beware of how students mask comprehension struggles ;)

When I lean in for a reading conference with a student (who is reading an informational source), I always start by asking her to tell me a little bit about what she is learning from the source. I say, “Tell me what you learned in this section” or, in the case of narrative nonfiction, “What …Read more

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