By Gravity Goldberg and Renée Houser


GRAVITY: I sat down next to Miles and asked him, “Tell me about your book.” Then I listened, as he went on and on retelling all of the events of his book for several minutes. I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt, but all I was learning from Miles was that he could literally recall the events of the book.

After hundreds of conferences like this, I realized the question I was asking students was not that helpful. It was disingenuous, in fact, because I was not really interested in a plot summary of the book. I was really interested in the reader who was holding it.


After fifteen years of studying reading conferences, we’ve realized that the real goal of a conference is to better understand the reader and their process. When teachers keep this goal in mind, we…

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