Saturday, October 09, 2010

Have you tried "Dip and Tip" in your classroom?

If we want our students to make wise selections of books, then we have to be constantly aware of their choices. I haven't read every single book in my classroom library (although it's my goal to do so).  Instead I think we need to use a strategy I am calling "Dip and Tip".  Occasionally, while your kids are reading their self-selected books, take a few minutes to conference with them.  These should be SHORT conferences (1 - 3 minutes max).  

When you "dip" into their reading, sit down next to them and ask them to read aloud to you right where they are. It doesn't take long to figure out if the book is a good choice for them...are they reading at a pretty fluent rate?  Or are they stumbling over their words?  Do they seem interested?  Or obligated to it?  Give a quick "tip" to the reader and then move on.  A tip could be a question you ask to nudge them further in their thinking.  It could be a suggestion to abandon the book.  Or it could be a strategy for figuring out an unknown word or part of text.  

Although you could probably give a lot of tips, resist the urge to do so.  Give a quick one and move on.  This allows you to get to the next reader.  It also allows your readers to continue their work without a lot of interruption.  

You could carry a small notebook or note-taking page with you to jot down the tips you are offering each reader.  This provides a good anecdotal record over time of the student's independent reading behavior.  

How do you conference with your students during independent reading?    

1 comment:

hallw said...

I do something similar as you are saying. I try to conference anywhere from 3-5 minutes. If I am specifically looking to see if they have a "just right" book then I have them read aloud where they are. If they are just beginning, then the first page. I try to stick to Richard Allington's latest research. This can be found in his What Matters Most series (2009). He says that students need to read selections that support them with at least 98% accuracy if read independently. When the conference is close to concluding, I try to point out something I like and something I want them to work on.