Personal interactions are the single most effective way for teachers to understand and evaluate their students as learners. Responding specifically to new Common Core State Standards in reading and writing, this book introduces pre- and inservice teachers to a method of one-on-one interaction the authors refer to as the "stretch conference". This book provides detailed practical advice on the logistics of implementing these conferences during the busy school day, including tips on how and when to schedule conferences and how to successfully manage the classroom during conference time. The authors argue that, rather than using valuable conference time for word-level concerns and editing, teachers should focus on more ambitious goals that will deepen (or"stretch"") students' skills in comprehension and writing. This resource suggests where conferences fit in with other important pieces of literacy instruction, introduces a variety of high-quality cues to use during conferences, and shows how conferences can function as formative assessment for reading and writing skills.
Jennifer Berne is associate professor and department chair of literacy and elementary education at Northern Illinois University. Sophie C. Degener is associate professor of reading and language at National Louis University.