The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 1 - Page 55


Conferring Group: Gina and Grant had growth in both comprehension and fluency, while Mike and Amy had little growth in fluency and comprehension. However, the conferring group had an average of two months growth (0.2) between October and December, as well as increased fluency by an average of 20 wcpm and 0.25 more miscues. The overall average growth throughout the research shows the students grew in both comprehension and fluency from reading conferences.

Group 1: All students in Group 1 had similar growth results. All students had a few months growth in comprehension and a small amount of growth in fluency. However, not only was this group receiving small group instruction during the research, Jodi received ELL and before school tutoring. James received before school tutoring, and Simon received Title 1 reading interventions. These extra resources could also contribute to their growth.

Group 2: All students in this group started fourth grade at grade level or above grade level in their reading scores. This group only grew an average of one month (0.1) from small group instruction in their comprehension. Their fluency, however, grew 24 wcpm, similar to that of those conferring. Overall, this group of students did not show a great amount of growth from small group instruction.

Implications for Teaching and Learning

Based on the results of the research, conferring during Reader’s Workshop is a very effective teaching strategy when looking for growth in comprehension and fluency. The data show that students who conferred had the highest growth in comprehension and growth overall in fluency leading one to conclude that for most students conferring is a more effective strategy than small group guided reading instruction. Group 1 had too many other factors to determine if their growth was from small group instruction, and Group 2 had a small amount of growth compared to the conferring group.

The role of the teacher during conferring was listening to the student read aloud, pausing to acknowledge student strengths, and providing the student with fix-up strategies. The teacher also provided individualized instruction based on student needs, which were identified in earlier reader’s conferences and written down in the form of qualitative anecdotal notes. These anecdotal notes were used to formulate instructional goals for the next reader’s conference and provided the students with a goal for their continued independent reading. The role of the student during reader’s conferences was to read independently, a book on their instructional level, and work with the teacher to monitor comprehension and focus on learning goals made during previous reader’s conferences.

The role of the teacher during small group reading instruction also focused on student’s needs, but the focus was on a group of students rather than an individual student. The teacher provided the students with a text, on instructional level, and based on needs uncovered in previous group instruction, and monitored student comprehension and fluency through student read aloud, turn and talk amongst students, and comprehension questions. The student’s role during small group instruction was to read aloud, partner need, or silent read a text chosen by the teacher, while working on fluency strategies provided by the teacher. The students were also to work on skills or strategies provided through instruction from the teacher, that addressed the group’s needs in strengthening reading comprehension and fluency.

Table Two- Results