Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Parent Conferences: Talking About Reading Levels

I cannot believe it is already the 8th of November! Time is moving so fast. Last week I was preparing for parent conferences like a mad woman, mostly because I was going out of town over the weekend and wouldn't have time to do any preparation.

I generally enjoy parent conferences. I'm a pretty open communicator from day one, so most parents who have children who are struggling, either behaviorally or academically, are aware of the situation before they come in. And for those parents who have students who are right on track, it is wonderful to validate all their hard work and effort.

One goal I have had for this year is making reading levels more comprehensible to parents. This year I have started by putting the independent levels and a description on their report cards on the comments section, so it might say

Reading Level N: Slightly above end-of-the-year second grade level

Obviously parents whose are below grade level get very worried when they see the levels written this way, but I reassure those parents whose kids are only slightly below that being one level behind in second grade isn't going to cause their child to be held back. It just means they need to practice and build up their confidence. Of course the parents of students who are many levels behind need to be aware of how far behind their child is so they aren't shocked at the end of the year. It may be upsetting, but it is much better to know now and start working towards improvement than to be in the dark!

In addition to giving parents information about their child's reading level, I've given parents a list of books at their child's independent and instructional level that I got from Scholastic's Book Wizard. I type in the level and get a huge list of books at that level.

Parents can take the list to the library or the book store so they are empowered to find books that help their child at their own level. I've often found parents want their kids to read book too high or low at home, and this helps eliminate that problem! I also gave parents the link to the book wizard so they can access the site at home. 

So far this seems to be a great resource for parents. Anyone else have good suggestions for parent conferences?

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