"Teaching writing must become more like coaching a sport and less like presenting information. You have to do more than call out the errors." ~Lucy Calkins

“There is something lasting about sitting down next to a child and having a conversation as fellow readers.” Patrick Allen p. xv

One to One Conferencing lies at the heart of effective literacy instruction. Why?

Because literacy, unlike other subjects, offers no single correct answer. In some ways, reading and writing are like playing a sport or an instrument. You have to put a variety of skills together to hit the target. As teachers, we demonstrate the "rules of the game" and guide our students in strengthening their performance. Like the coach who offers personalized advice to help each athlete improve, we give individualized feedback that accelerates learning.

In the Workshop Model, conferencing is the primary vehicle for this individualized instruction.

Getting Started:

Conferring with individual students can seem overwhelming at first. So it is important to enter the conversation with the right intention and mindset.

1. To learn about your students
2. To notice and point out their strengths and readers/writers/learners
3. To empower them to want to grow and challenge themselves
4. To celebrate their hard work
5. To discover new avenues/strategies to lift them up and keep them going

Conferring is joyful process for both teacher and student. There should always be JOY in conferring when you teach kids.
Conferring allows you to spend a few precious minutes with a child, connecting to them and teaching them something they can use/do not just on that day, but EVERY DAY.

Conference Ready:

Keeping good notes for each student conference will help you choose your teaching points wisely, as shown in the example below. It may be beneficial to use or create a Conferencing Sheet (see below) you can staple to the inside back cover of each student's writer's notebook. This is a handy way to record the date and teaching points for each conference. Checking these dates regularly also helps you ensure that you're conferencing with each student regularly.

Digital Conference Sheet

"How would your students describe you as a listener?"