Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education and Organizational Leadership Development

Committee Member

Dr. Linda Gambrell, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Celeste Bates

Committee Member

Dr. Susan Fullerton

Committee Member

Dr. Jacquelynn Malloy


In elementary classrooms, a variety of approaches and frameworks are used to support students as they develop their reading comprehension abilities and independently read increasingly complex texts. This multiple-case study embedded design described teacher-student reading conferences conducted in the context of independent reading time by four exemplary second grade teachers whose primary method of reading instruction is the reading workshop approach as described by Calkins (2001). This study described feedback and scaffolds provided by four exemplary reading workshop teachers during 207 teacher-student reading conferences within a nine-week period. In addition to investigating how four exemplary reading workshop teachers conducted teacher-student reading conferences, this study also described how twenty-four students responded to the teachers' feedback and scaffolds during the teacher-student reading conferences. Based on twelve 90 minute observations and the audio recordings of 207 teacher-student reading conferences, specific routines and resources the teachers used to support teacher-student reading conferences are described. Each teacher utilized their classrooms and resources in similar ways to support students reading self-selected texts during independent reading time. The use of student folders, which included resources and goal setting sheets, was critical in teacher-student reading conferences in three of the four classrooms. The four teachers utilized Teachers College Reading and Writing Project curriculum guides and resources to support their teacher-student reading conferences. The findings from the present study highlighted the multifaceted and complex nature of teacher-student reading conferences as they occurred during independent reading time. Even though the findings described differences in how the four second grade teachers structured their teacher-student reading conferences, each of the cases described the importance of knowing students and the reading process to flexibly provide feedback and scaffolds to meet the needs of readers during teacher-student reading conferences during independent reading time. The individual case studies revealed the teachers utilized a consistent structure for conducting their teacher-student reading conferences. However, the structure varied by teacher based on their stated purpose for teacher-student reading conferences within their instructional literacy time. One of the teachers expressed teacher-student reading conferences were a time for her to provide explicit, targeted instruction whereas another teacher viewed reading conferences as a time to informally assess how students were applying learning from whole-group literacy instruction. Throughout this study, the teachers' purpose for teacher-student reading conferences influenced the feedback and scaffolds they provided and, as a result, determined the way students responded during teacher-student reading conferences. Despite differences in implementation of teacher-student reading conferences and differences in students' responses, 22 out of 24 participating students read at least one reading level higher by the end of the study. Each of the teachers expressed that despite challenges of scheduling, they gained so much information about individual student's reading and interests through teacher-student reading conferences. Each teacher stated that teacher-student reading conferences were a priority and they devoted an hour every day for teacher-student reading conferences during independent reading time.



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