The Missouri Reader Vol. 42, Issue 2 | Page 32



The Co-Editor of The Missouri Reader, Dr. Sam Bommarito, recently had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Serravallo about her new book, A Teacher’s Guide to Reading Conferences. This interview is from his Jan. 18th, 2019 blog,

Dr. Sam: What key things you would like teachers new to conferring to learn from using this book? What are the key things you would like those experienced with conferring to learn?

Jennifer S.: If you’ve never tried conferring with readers before, this book will help you get started immediately and will introduce you to the types of conferences I use in the reading classroom. As a staff developer, I’ve worked with many teachers new to conferring, so I know what questions are most common and what aspects challenge them the most, so I have answered those questions and addressed those challenges in the book. I describe various conference types clearly and offer video examples online. When I was learning to confer, I always found it important to not only read about conferring, but to see my staff developers and coaches model them for me. Now when I present information about conferring, I always get comments that the videos were really helpful—so they are a part of this book.

For those who have been conferring for a while, there is a lot in this book that will help elevate conferring time, making it more meaningful for you and students – strategies for being more goal-directed, ways to offer students opportunities to self reflect, progressions of skills on printable note-taking forms to help teachers focus within goals but move students along, considerations for emergent bilingual students, as well as interviews with some practitioners who have been mentors to me and have wise words to offer us all. I find there are some universal questions I get about conferring from those new to it and those experienced with it that I address in the book. For example: how to manage conferring, how to fit it in, how many children to aim to see each week in conferences, how long to spend with each conference, how to know what the perfect strategy is to teach a student, and how to keep conferences short and focused, to name a few.


Author Interviews