Slow Down to Speed Up

SOLC 2011 9.31

Hang on…I’m making another reference to the Oscars. One of the people who Christian Bale thanked when he received an Oscar was his daughter, “to my little girl who has taught me more than I could ever teach her.” His sentiments are mine as a teacher, “to all the students and my children who have taught me more than I could ever teach them.”  

Part of my day was spent conferring with 4th grade readers during Reading Workshop. I didn’t have a list of specific questions but just follow Carl Anderson’s question “How’s it going?” or  I might say, “Tell me about your reading.” At first I usually get the short response, “Good.” I just probe more and then they start talking.

Today I  asked, “How have you changed as reader since third grade?” Listen to part of our conversation.

Student: Last year I did read chapter books but it took a long time to read them. I also didn’t do well on many of quizzes. (We do use AR as one tool  to help monitor independent reading practice) I really didn’t understand many of the chapter books I read. This year I’m reading a lot more books and I understand them. They’re longer too.

Me: That is a big change. I hear so many readers say they struggle with the same thing. What are you doing different as a reader that helped you?

Student: Hmm…well I reread sentences that I don’t understand especially if it has a word I don’t know. Sometimes I have to reread a part two or three times.

Me: Are you saying you slowed down and that caused you to speed up? That’s funny, isn’t it? You slowed down and now you are reading more books than before and you understand them.

Student: Laughing. Yes that is what I did.

How profound is this smart reader? I’m having her share with her reading community. Every conference I gleaned a bit of wisdom 🙂

Check out Patrick Allen’s book, Conferring:The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop.

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10 Responses to Slow Down to Speed Up

  1. Tam says:

    Priceless conference. We all have to slow, don’t we?

  2. Sprice says:

    So very true! I’ll have to share this with some of my reluctant readers who think you have to fly through a book! I know, because u have been there! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Elizabeth G. says:

    LOVED Patrick Allen’s book. Sounds like you are doing a great job of inspiring your students.

  4. One thing I love about blogs and blogging (and challenges like Slice of Life) is that sometimes, we get invited into the conversation and into the learning. Thanks for sharing this gem with us.
    Kevin

  5. Linda Baie says:

    It is a lovely way to eavesdrop on other teachers, & learn, learn, learn. Thank you for your description that told all we need to know-ask the questions, listen to the answers.

  6. Linda Baie says:

    It is a lovely way to eavesdrop on other teachers, & learn, learn, learn. Thank you for your description that told so much.

  7. Linda Baie says:

    oops! Sorry for the double-guess I liked it so much I sent the words twice.

  8. Diana Martin says:

    Being able to conference with children is the most fun a teacher can have. How wonderful it is that she is so aware of her own reading process! I love reading conversations between teacher and student.

  9. blink says:

    “What are you doing different as a reader that helped you?” I’m adding this to my conferring today! One of my colleagues says conferring isn’t just the icing, it’s the whole cake and I’m trying to remember that. Your glimpse into your moment with this student has helped me see that even more today.

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