Goals/Benefits Time/Structure Sample Lessons Routines Texts Assessment


Facilitator Notes

General Suggestions for Leading a PLC about the Lesson

Specific Suggestions for Early Meaning Making: 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 Early Meaning Making: 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:  Part 1 – Why do you think Ms. DuBose stresses that all children need to view themselves as readers, regardless of their proficiency level?

  • She wants to build their confidence so that they will take risks and work hard to develop as readers. See also interview with Ms. DuBose in Goals/Benefits section.


Before the Lesson:  Part 2 – How does the teacher incorporate Independent Reading into her daily schedule? How does she structure her time in IR?

  • Ms. DuBose sets aside 30 minutes each day in the morning before guided reading groups and stations. She slowly increases the amount of time the children read from the beginning of the year.
  • 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.)
  • There isn’t one right way to incorporate independent reading! The teacher keeps Guided Reading and Independent Reading as separate blocks.  That way she is able to confer individually with all children on a regular basis, as well as meeting their needs in groups with leveled texts.


Mini-Lesson: Part 1 – Engage and Model:

How did the activities in this segment prepare students to be engaged and strategic readers when they go off to read on their own?

  • The teacher revisits the stamina goals with the Stamina Tree and reminds the children to continue working on stamina as they read.
  • She uses her Goals and Strategies Chart as a clear reminder to the children of previous strategies (rereading) and to introduce a new strategy. These visuals and clear explanations help the children to focus on strategies that help them be readers.  They know what the teacher wants them to do and she has set it up so that they are all capable of meeting those expectations.
  • She then models exactly how she uses the pictures to think about the story, so that the children will be able to transfer the strategy into their own reading.  Children who don’t yet know some or even any letters or words can still make meaning from pictures, learning to think about the story as they read.  Children who are beginning to attend to print are reminded to check their knowledge of letters and sounds by also thinking about what would make sense.


Mini-Lesson: Part 2 – Guide:

What role does the Turn and Talk play?

  • It allows the children to process their thinking in an informal, supportive setting with peers.
  • It gives all children the opportunity to verbalize their thinking, not only one or two that the teacher has time to call on.
  • It helps keep young children involved and actively participating in the learning.
  • It allows the teacher to listen to the children, assess how well they are using the strategy, and make any adjustments to her teaching.


Mini-Lesson: Part 3 – Independent Practice:

Why does the teacher include this last segment of the mini-lesson?

  • By gradually releasing the responsibility from teacher to children, she has brought the students closer to what they will do when they go off to read. She wants to be sure they have a clear idea of how to translate what was done on the carpet into their own reading.


Mini-Lesson: Part 4 – Transition to Independent Reading:

How do the activities in this section prepare the students to be successful in IR?

  • Reviewing the basic guidelines chart each day before they move to IR helps the children to remember and implement routines that help them use their time productively.
  • The Table Leaders procedures effectively minimize time taken away from reading and ensure that all children have the necessary tools to quickly get started. (See Teacher Commentary for more about the Table Leaders.) They also foster a sense of responsibility and mutual support among the children.



Independent Reading – Conferences 1-4:   

In a PLC setting, you may want to display a 3-column chart: “Praise,” “Teaching Point,” and “Possible Next Steps.”  Teachers could discuss each conference based on these observations.  After watching the conferences, they could discuss and list teaching moves that they notice across the conferences.  Continue to add others as you watch additional conferences. The transcript is also available to refer to after viewing each video clip.  For more specific support on prompts for beginning readers, see Guided Reading module, especially Levels 1-2, Working with Books: Reading the New Book and Teaching Points, and Levels 3-5, Day 1: Reading the New Book and Teaching Point.

What does the teacher praise and teach in each conference?  What might be appropriate next steps for the child (recognizing limitations on information from one video clip!)

Conference Praise TP Possible Next Steps
1 Finger pointing, using picture to predict possible word Reinforcing picture support for words Cross-checking picture with first letter when known
2 Using pictures to follow the story Distinguishing between just right and look book Helping child choose just right books
3 Finger pointing, thinking about what would make sense Reinforcing picture support for making sense Cross-checking first letter with picture
4 Fluency, using pictures, cross-checking letters in words with picture, using known sight words. Identifying the strategies she used and continuing to use them Helping child choose higher level books

What else did you notice about the teacher’s conferring?

  • She listens to each child read and takes brief notes.
  • After listening to the child, the teacher provides specific praise for some strategic action the child has taken (see chart above)
  • She identifies a teaching point – one strategy for the child to work on.  Sometimes this is just a praise!
  • She leaves the child with a reminder to use the strategy in the future.
  • She does not try to address or correct every error the child makes.
  • If the child has used a strategy that the teacher thinks would benefit the whole class,especially one that was the focus of the mini-lesson, she asks the child if he/she is willing to share, and helps the child prepare to share.
  • She maintains a friendly, supportive, reader-to-reader stance towards each child, and leaves room for the child to add his/her own comments or questions (e.g., in Conference 3, “Let me tell you something – today was the first day I understood this book.”)

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 provide student examples of the strategy that was the focus of the lesson, 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.
  • By having children respond to their peers by identifying what they liked about their reading,the teacher helps build a community of learners who are more attentive to and supportive of each other.


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.