Literacy Life

Reading, Writing and the pursuit of thinner thighs

21st Century Reading Conferences

on December 6, 2012

Reading Conferences are a personal passion of mine. I truly believe talking 1 on 1, reader to reader, is one of the best ways to grow the reading in your classroom. From 6 to 16, every reader wants to have genuine conversations about books. Why do we teachers seem to ruin this desire? I implore you to rethink your reading instruction if it doesn’t include 1 on 1 reading conferences during reading workshop.

Now most teachers completely agree with the idea of talking books with readers. But how do we keep the records? “How do you organize the records?” seems to be the biggest question I get across the state from my teachers. I’m here to give you a suggestion on how to use the newest form of technology hitting classrooms…iPads.

I am not a technology expert by any means, but I have managed to find a level of technology use that satisfies my needs. I’ve had my iPad for a year now. The first few months were spent telling Mr. G he spent too much money on my birthday present. Now, I’m not sure what I would do without it.

I began wondering how to use my iPad to keep track of student conferences and I have found the answer. I have the app that will conquer your fear of organizing paper notes from conferences. Evernote! This is a free app that has upgrades available. Everything I am going to show you is from the free version. Are you excited yet? I hope this post transforms your thinking about reading conferences.

Evernote – The little green elephant app on the top right side. Go get your free little green elephant and meet me back here to set it up for your classroom.


Now you need to set up your student’s notebooks. Once in Evernote, you will create a notebook for each of your students. (You may reach a maximum number of notebooks in the free version)















The next piece is one of the most exciting features of all. You can keep track of oral recordings, typed notes and pictures all within a dated file. As you add conference notes, you’ll see the notes build. I wasn’t sure how to title them in the beginning, but now I believe dates are the best way to title the notes.


Here is a screen shot of what the note looks like with pictures and imported data from another app, Whiteboard lite. (Unfortunately I can’t this whole note in one screen shot. So imagine as you look at these shots, that you’re scrolling down through the note.) The top of the shot shows words that I kept track of while listening to the student read. Below that is the blue recording of her reading and our conversation.


After the student reading and my note taking, I wanted to show how you can do all work right there on the iPad. This student needed word work. We’ve been working on making analogies between vowel patterns across increasingly difficult words. To do this I used another “free” app – Whiteboard lite. This app lets you write like on a marker board and then save the screen image as a picture. You can then add that picture to the Evernote note, keeping track of the individual word work of each student. Here is our work with “toast.”


You can wrap up your reading conference by taking a picture of the book the student is reading! I feel like this app could is going to transform how teachers connect technologies and old fashioned reading.


I’d love to hear any other suggestions on how you’re keeping the records from your reading conferences.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: