Tag Archives: Dan Feigelson

Upcoming Webinar Series: Reading Conferences

"Researchers have calculated that teachers engage in literally thousands of oral interactions with children every day. What we say and the way we say it shapes children's understanding more than any other pedagogical tool we use."

Ellin Keene in To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension (2008)

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9 Types of Reading Conferences: A Jumping Off Point

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Adapted from Reading Projects Reimagined: Student-Driven Conferences to Deepen Critical Thinking by Dan Feigelson

Yetta Goodman (2002) reminds us that there are no substitutes for careful kid-watching and good listening. Nonetheless, a reading teacher can become more confident and able to adapt to students by having umbrella categories, or types of conferences, at his or her fingertips. Carving out time in the day for conference-based reading projects provides teachers with important opportunities to listen and assign readers work that is personalized and rigorous. The fundamental tenet of a conference-based reading project is that the direction should come from the student. Developing conference-based reading projects involves listening carefully to what students say about a text, and then helping them name an idea worth following.

The following nine umbrella categories are intended as a work in progress and is by no means definitive. The best use of this list would be as a jumping off point for educators to add to, revise, and refine.  It’s important, always, to remember that the specifics of a good conference should come from what the individual student says and does. With that disclaimer in mind, here we go.

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Heinemann Summer Sessions Week 6: Reading Projects Reimagined

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Welcome to the sixth week of the Heinemann Summer Sessions! Each week throughout the summer, we will feature an article, video clip, or new professional book chapter from the Heinemann Digital Library on the topic of student engagement. Today, we look at a video clip from Reading Projects Reimagined by Dan Feigelson.

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“Breadcrumbs” Lead to Synthesis

In his recent release, Reading Projects Reimagined, author Dan Feigelson shows us how conference-based, individual reading projects help students learn to think for themselves. He raises an important question about the larger goal of reading instruction: while it’s our job as reading teachers to introduce students to new ideas and comprehension strategies, should we not also teach them to come up with their own ideas?  

In today's video blog, Dan visits with 6th grader Liam. Their conversation was about "back in time breadcrumb parts."

Liam was reading Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions, a mystery book. Dan and Liam talked about how Liam paid attention to certain parts in order to narrow down the suspects, and Liam observed that readers need to connect these parts, “like breadcrumbs.” 

Dan agreed that the most important breadcrumb parts were those which connected back to things that happened earlier in the text – synthesis! – and that paying special attention to such parts was important, not just in mysteries, but in any type of book.

Liam’s assignment, aka reading project, was to notice these "back in time breadcrumb parts" and reflect in how they helped him to understand.

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Dan Feigelson has worked extensively in New York City schools as a teacher, staff developer, curriculum writer, principal, and local superintendent. An early member of the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project, he has led institutes, workshops, and lab-sites around the world. His newest book is Reading Projects Reimagined: Student-Driven Conferences to Deepen Critical Thinking.

Dan Feigelson On Deciding Which Connections Help Us To Understand – And Which Ones Don’t

In his new book, Reading Projects Reimagined, author Dan Feigelson shows us how conference-based, individual reading projects help students learn to think for themselves. He raises an important question about the larger goal of reading instruction: while it’s our job as reading teachers to introduce students to new ideas and comprehension strategies, should we not also teach them to come up with their own ideas?  

In today's video blog, Dan visits with Kaila and looks at how we can make good connections while reading.

Making Connections

by Dan Feigelson

We often talk to kids about the importance of making connections to our own lives as we read, to facilitate comprehension. The truth is though that not all connections are created equal. Some connections do in fact help us understand, but others can distract us from what is going on in the text. Skilled readers are discriminating; they pay attention to the connections that actually help them make sense of the text, not just any old connection that pops into their head. 

In this conference, Kaila and I talk about the difference between connections that help us understand and those that are not so helpful.

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Dan Feigelson has worked extensively in New York City schools as a teacher, staff developer, curriculum writer, principal, and local superintendent. An early member of the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project, he has led institutes, workshops, and lab-sites around the world. His newest book is Reading Projects Reimagined: Student-Driven Conferences to Deepen Critical Thinking.