What “choice words” and phrases do you use to honor your students as readers, writers, and community contributors?

Acknowledging children’s efforts, perseverance, and willingness to try new things—not how smart they are is key to moving them forward as independent readers and writers. Specific encouragement is necessary and critical. The following are a few "choice words" I have found helpful in getting students to be more mindful, self-reflective, and in control during their independent practice.

Why do we do this?
Why is independent reading important for a learner?
Why is this block of time important for our success?
What are kids able to do independently because of you? What I thought I taught isn't necessarily what they learned.
-Forced to think on their own, without being forced to think what we want them to. They can't rely on others. Need to think for themselves.
-Gives them time to practice being real readers vs. a reader thinking in segments. When practicing in those subsets, they aren't really being "real" readers. This times allows them to practice and do what real readers do. This makes learning whole. They can start "playing the game." They are part of the club! Play the game like a superstar reader! Not like a reporter.
-Where they fit into in this world. This defines the part you will play in this world's team! You find out what you're good at and how you will share that with others.

  • How is it going?
  • How are you feeling about your practice today?
  • Tell me about your work?
  • What are you goals for practice today?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
I will try this.

  • Tell me about your writing today?
  • Why did you chose that topic?
  • What are your goals?
  • Any challenges so far?
  • What are you finding helps?


  • Tell me about THE KIND of book you are reading right now?
  • What do you notice about this KIND of BOOK?
  • What make you think that?
  • Have you read this KIND of BOOK before?


  • What excites you most as a reader?
  • What are you most proud of as a reader?
  • What is your favorite kind of book?
  • Who do you most suggest as an author to other readers?
  • Who is your favorite author?
  • What makes them/that book special?
  • How do you feel during reading time?
  • What makes you feel that way?
  • What is your favorite time of day to read? At school? At home?
  • Where is your favorite place to read? At school? At home?

Keeping Track:

When conferring with students it is important to keep a record of student responses. After meeting with the student, it is very important to student growth that you provide encouragement and give praise. Look for something they did really well and celebrate it. Then give them a "teaching point". This is something you would like them to work on and apply towards their next practice.

Here are some sample templates to explore and customize:

Conferencing Resources
Please add any resources that you have found
-I believe that these resources will help me to plan my next steps after conferencing with the students individually during silent reading by having them work in small groups (such as Literature Circles) and also by encouraging the students to read with expression and fully engage themselves in the book. :). -Catie Nagashima