Continuous independent reading can be realized through the help of individual reading conferences and reading workshops. The two are a great way of enhancing reading skills, understanding and instilling a skill that will go a long way in enhancing a child’s ability. Such conferences greatly help a learner’s reading capabilities grow. This is especially true for learners who find it difficult to get enough time to read. According to Cullinan, research has shown that students often choose not to read or rather read in large quantities (2000). This can be attributed to other responsibilities that make it difficult for a student to prioritize reading. Alternatively, it may also be as a result of a lack of interest in reading. Nonetheless, teachers recognize the importance of independent reading and thus the reason why students are engaged in literature right from an early age (Cullinan, 2000). Also, independent reading is defined as a process and not an event.
Independent reading conferences offer an opportunity for tutors to monitor students’ reading lives and capabilities. In one’s reading experience, comprehension strategies should be well incorporated (Oczkus, 2012). It is in reading conferences and workshop where such strategies can be assessed, examined and expounded upon. Also reading conferences provide a great opportunity to address common misconceptions in literature. One common misconception is that teaching grammar, vocabulary and spelling make students better readers (Lause, 2004). While such knowledge remains important, it barely enhances individual reading and instead more reading is what develops better readers (Lause, 2004). Classroom approach to reading makes it difficult for students to enjoy reading and possibly transform it into a hobby. This is because most of the time tutors are engrossed in translating the contents of a book rather than guiding students on how to understand the literature (Lause, 2004).
According to Yogurtcu (2013), the cognitive efforts and conscious of an individual is a necessity in reading comprehension. Such high-level cognitive function may not come naturally for each student. This is why self-efficacy is important in developing students’ cognitive ability and consequently improving their literature skills (Yogurtcu, 2013). Individual reading conferences offer an opportunity for growth in self-efficacy and development in cognitive effort. This is because individual bonding time with the student can serve as an opportunity to understand their struggles, their strengths and how to drive future instruction. This is on some occasions ignored by tutors because of the assumption that cognitive efforts are almost equal. If tutors can use reading conferences to improve self-efficacy of students, this will likely translate to an improvement in comprehension and reading skills. This is because there is a high and positive correlation between self-efficacy beliefs and high achievement (Yogurtcu, 2013).
Reading conferences is majorly about engaging students and holding them accountable for their reading achievement. Individual reading conferences largely benefit the student because of the new found ability in reading and comprehending large amounts of texts within a limited amount of time. However, such conferences are also of huge benefit to the tutors because they get an opportunity to become a resource and a cheerleader in an informal setting (Lause, 2004). However, student growth remains the main focus. Reading conferences offer an opportunity for student’s to engage the deepest parts of their brain and improve their reading attitude (Lause, 2004). Such conferences are however not a success on their own and teachers need to be on the lookout for other non-cognitive factors that may inhibit student growth (Oczkus, 2012). Such growth should be treated as a process and therefore the need for teachers to be patient with their students even when things move slowly.
- Cullinan, B. (2000). Independent Reading and School Achievement. Research Journal Of The American Association Of School Librarians, 3(1), 1-24. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol3/SLMR_IndependentReading_V3.pdf
- Lause, J. (2004). Using Reading Workshop to Inspire Lifelong Readers. The English Journal, 93(5), 24.
- Oczkus, L. (2012). Best ever literacy survival tips. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
- Yoğurtçu, K. (2013). The Impact of Self-efficacy Perception on Reading Comprehension on Academic Achievement. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 70, 375-386.