Goals/Benefits Time/Structure Sample Lessons Routines Texts Assessment


Facilitator Notes

General Suggestions for Leading a PLC about the Lesson

Specific Suggestions for Focus on Fluency, Grade 2: Possible Responses to Questions


General Suggestions for Leading a PLC about the Lesson:

  • Facilitator Preparation for the Session:
    • View the clips, decide on your own responses to the questions, and anticipate other possible responses from colleagues. Then review the suggested responses in the “Facilitator Notes.” Please note that the questions and responses given are suggestions only. Your insights and those of your teachers will shape the most meaningful discussions.
    • A Teacher Commentary video clip accompanies some of the lesson clips. In this Commentary, the teacher of the lesson provides her own insights into the segment of the lesson. We recommend viewing the Commentary after the discussion of each lesson segment.
    • You may want to download some of the Supporting Documents and copy them for use in the session. The appropriate ones are noted and hyperlinked in the Possible Responses below.  There is also a transcript available for each lesson.


  • During the Session:
    • Before viewing each video clip, note the “Segment Focus” and “Questions” for the segment.
    • As you view each video clip, encourage teachers to take notes related to the focus question but also about their own questions, observations, and ideas.
    • After viewing each clip, have teachers turn and talk with colleagues about what they noticed, their questions and other reflections. Then lead a whole group discussion about the segment.
  • If there is a Teacher Commentary about the lesson segment, view and discuss it.
  • Concluding the Session:
    • Discuss how the session supports teachers’ current efforts or plans for independent reading in their own classrooms, what additional support is needed, and how you can facilitate that support.


Specific Suggestions for Focus on Fluency, Grade 2: Possible Responses to Questions

Please note that the questions and responses given are suggestions only.  Your insights and those of your teachers will shape the most meaningful discussions.  


Before the Lesson:  How does the teacher incorporate Independent Reading into her daily schedule?

  • There isn’t one right way to incorporate independent reading! This teacher uses 45 minutes at the end of the day to emphasize the pleasurable, relaxing aspect of independent reading, and to use it to encourage continued reading at home.
  • She uses the structure of mini-lesson, reading with conferring, and sharing to maximize the impact of the independent reading on children’s growth as readers and motivation to read. (See TIME AND STRUCTURE SECTION of this module for more on this structure.)
  • To fit leveled guided reading groups into the day, as well as independent reading, the teacher alternates between mainly conferring during IR and mainly holding groups while the children read. She bases her decision on what she has observed with the children.  This allows her to flexibly meet children’s needs.


Mini-Lesson: Part 1 – Engage:

How did the activities in this segment engage students in thinking about fluency?

  • The “Don’t Read Like a Robot” music video (https://app.gonoodle.com/channels/blazer-fresh/) allows the children to get their bodies in motion as well as their minds. They refresh their background knowledge about fluency as they recite with the performers.  It’s a fun way to start the IR block.
  • Asking the children what they notice about the poem also helps them activate their background knowledge about fluency.
  • The opportunity to turn and talk further involves the children in thinking about fluency.
  • Note that the teacher has chosen to focus on fluency because of the data she has collected about her students through ongoing observations. (See Class Needs Graph.)


Mini-Lesson: Part 2 – Model and Guide:

Do you think the modeling and guided choral reading was an effective tool in the lesson?  Why or why not?

  • Sometimes negative modeling is effective. It can help reinforce appropriate actions the children have already been taught by contrasting them with the inappropriate ones they are seeing.  It also keeps them actively involved in the lesson.
  • It was important for the teacher to read the poem first so that the students didn’t have to concentrate as much on accurately reading the words and could instead focus on fluency.
  • The children got a chance to practice fluent reading to prepare them to incorporate it into their independent reading.

Mini-Lesson: Part 3 – Prepare for Independence:

What procedures has the teacher established? How do you think these will support the children?

  • She has established that the purpose of independent reading is not just to complete a task assigned by the teacher, but “to learn something,” “for entertainment,” and “to be thinking as you’re reading.” By emphasizing these purposes before the children go off to read, the teacher reinforces the centrality of comprehension and the importance of the reader’s interaction with the text.
  • The Book Talk Starters Chart has been developed to help the children focus on meaningful responses to their reading that they can use when they meet with their partners. This again reinforces the importance of thinking as they read.
  • Children know exactly what to do when they leave the carpet – where to get their materials, where they can sit, how to get started with their reading.



Independent Reading – Conferences 1-5:

In a PLC setting, you may want to display a 2-column chart: “Consistent Conferring Moves” and “Differentiated Conferring Moves.”  After watching 2 or 3 conferences, teachers could discuss actions they noticed that belong in each column, and add them to the chart.  Continue to add others as you watch additional conferences. You might also want to ask teachers to record “Student reading behaviors”, “Praise” and “Teaching Point” for each conference.  The transcript is available to refer back to the conference language.

What aspects of the teacher’s conferring are consistent across students?

  • She is conversational and relaxed, taking the stance of a fellow reader when she asks the students about their reading.
  • She engages them in talking about the content of their reading – their personal connections or ideas, or telling her what they have read. She learns more about the children as readers through these inquiries, as well as assessing their comprehension, without turning the conference into an interrogation.
  • She asks the child to read a little and takes notes in running record format.
  • She provides specific praise for some strategic action they have taken (e.g., reading with expression, rereading to self-correct, etc.)
  • She remarks on their fluency if any opportunity arises, since this was the focus of her mini-lesson.
  • Based on everything she has learned in the conference, including through the running record, she provides a teaching point – a reminder of one strategy the children already know to support their reading, or a new strategy to try (e.g., cross-checking meaning with visual information, rereading to see if it makes sense, reading through the whole word). She does not try to address or correct every error the child makes.  (Sometimes the teaching point is just a praise!)
  • She explains the strategy and gives the child the opportunity to practice it.
  • If the child has used a strategy that the teacher thinks would benefit the whole class, she asks the child if he/she is willing to share, and helps the child prepare to share.
  • She records her observations from the conference before she leaves the child on her I-Pad, while the child continues reading. (See Assessment Section for details of Ms. Long’s record-keeping process.)
  • She checks off the names of the students she conferences with on her Class Conferring Checklist.


How does her conferring vary per individual students’ needs?

  • She varies when she listens to the child read. This might be at the beginning of the conference if they continue reading when she approaches, or later if not.  This leaves more control of the conference in the hands of the child, and makes the conversation more natural.
  • Her teaching point varies with the specific needs she identifies through the conference and from her prior knowledge of the child and his/her goals.
  • She spends more or less time addressing book choice, depending on whether the book seems appropriate for the child or not.

What reading behaviors does the teacher note using running record notations?  How do these records help her in conferring with students?

  • She notes when the child substitutes another word for the word in the text, recording both the substitution and the correct word.  This helps her analyze patterns in the types of errors the students are making.  Are they using meaning, structure, and/or visual (letter/sound patterns) information when they make the errors?
  • She notes repetitions and self-corrections. These give her clues about how the children are attending to their own errors or confirming what they are reading.
  • The teacher does not try to take a complete running record, and knows that she may miss a few notations as she watches and listens. Recording what she can catch as the child reads is far more useful than not recording anything at all!
  • The running record notations help the teacher select a teaching point to reinforce a strategy that will help the child grow as a reader. For example:
    • Conference 1: Praise: rereading to self-correct, fluency. TP: Cross checking meaning and visual cues to self-correct
    • Conference 2: Praise: rereading to self-correct. TP: reading with expression
    • Conference 3: Praise: fluency (voice variations).
    • Conference 4: Praise: book choice. TP: looking all the way through the word.
    • Conference 5: Praise: fluency (expression). TP: Searching through the ending of the word.


Based on the recent and current running records, as well as the conversation in each conference, what other possibilities for teaching points or mini-lessons might there be?

Teachers take many things into account in choosing a teaching point, especially knowledge about the child and time.  Running records and conference notes give the teacher opportunities to consider alternatives, during the conference or on reflection later.  Below are a few examples.

  • Conference 2: From his conference sheet, we see that this child has been rereading familiar text quite accurately, but the conference showed that he has difficulty explaining what he’s read in his own words.  This might be related to being a second language learner of English.  The teacher might think-aloud how she summarizes a small portion of the text, and assist him in trying to do the same with a part he has just read.
  • Conference 4: This second language learner may not realize that “apple” doesn’t sound right for more than one apple, especially if her home language does not add endings to make a word plural. So, it may help to tell or remind her that we make words plural in English by adding an s.  Teaching her to look through the whole word, as the teacher did, is doubly important if this is the case, so that she’ll get used to adding noun endings.
  • Conference 5: This child tells specific details page by page. The teacher might want to show him how to connect those details into a quick summary of the story.


Partner Sharing:

How are the students held accountable for their reading?

  • The children fill in a reading log each day at the end of IR. The teacher changes the contents of the reading log as the year progresses, linking it to aspects of reading that they are studying in ELA.  She works to make the log meaningful but not burdensome.
  • Partner sharing also helps to hold the students accountable. As Ms. Long says in her commentary, “When they meet up with a partner, the partner is going to expect them to talk about their book.”


What benefits do you notice from partner sharing? (See also Partner Guidelines)

  • It helps with accountability for actually reading during IR.
  • It provides an authentic opportunity to talk about their reading, which in turn supports motivation and engagement in reading.
  • It encourages the children to think about aspects of their book that they may not have considered before a partner asks them about it.
  • It teaches children meaningful ways to talk about books.
  • It provides opportunities for partners to help with decoding and vocabulary in a casual, nonthreatening way. This builds trust and recognition that mistakes are natural when reading.
  • It is fun!


Class Sharing and Closure:

What is accomplished through class sharing?  How does the teacher structure the sharing to facilitate its effectiveness?

  • The teacher chooses specific children in advance to share and prepares them while conferring with them. This allows her to shape the sharing purposefully.  She uses it to reinforce strategies that she knows will benefit the class as a whole, to celebrate strides children have made as readers, and to build students’ confidence.
  • By having students share errors they made and how they corrected them, the teacher builds a community in which mistakes are considered natural and pride is taken in using appropriate strategies to deal with errors.  There is no shame in admitting mistakes in this environment.
  • Children have another opportunity to practice fluency by reading aloud to their peers selections they have already read accurately.
  • Like partner sharing, children have another opportunity to practice meaningful ways to think and talk about books.
  • By having children ask questions and respond to their peers’ sharing, the teacher frames sharing as more than getting one’s moment of fame. This student-to-student interaction is another aspect of building a community of readers authentically involved in talking about books.
  • The children often bring up topics through their questions (e.g., Where did this happen? Who’s the main character?) that relate directly to skills being taught in ELA. These discussions are far more engaging to the children than when asked the same questions by the teacher.


What are your overall thoughts or questions about the lesson?  What insights did you gain about independent reading?

In a PLC setting, you may want to keep an ongoing chart of teachers’ insights about IR, and add to it with each lesson that is viewed.