Creating a Conferring Menu

Conferring with writers is something that I have been working on for the past few years. There is always a way to grow in this area. This year, I’m implementing reading conferences as well. Check out my other posts about implementing reading conferences and the importance of conferring with readers and writers.

I’ve read a book called Conferring with Readers by Jennifer Serravallo and Gravity Goldberg. Reading this book gave me the idea to create conferring menus for each unit of study in reading and writing. I want to create a go-to reference tool that I can use in my reading and writing conferences. I want to consider the following components:

  • goals for the unit
  • learning targets
  • reading behaviors and strategies
  • mentor texts
  • anchor charts
  • thinking stems
  • agentive questions
  • support for struggling readers
  • support for strong readers

I want to have these components at my fingertips so that I can conduct effective and efficient conferences. Here is the template I created:

Conferring Menu Thumbnail

Click the picture to check it out on TPT!

Steps for creating a conferring menu:

1. Identify the goals for the unit.

2. Identify the learning targets for the unit: Keep in mind that there might be more learning targets throughout the unit of study. The targets I choose to write on the menu are the overarching targets. If there are more specific ones as I teach the unit, I might add them on a post-it.

3. Reading behaviors and strategies: Think about your end goal for you readers and writers and what you want them to have in their “toolbox” by the end of the unit. Adding this to your menu will give you “look fors” and ideas for teaching points in your conferences.

4. Write down your mentor texts and any writing pieces that you are using in your mini-lessons. This will allow you to reference them. I suggest carrying your mentor text along with your menu as you conference.

5. Write down your anchor charts. You might want to create smaller versions so that they are readily available for your conferences.

6. Write down any thinking stems that you are using in the unit.

7. Write down any agentive questions that you find helpful to have right in front of you. Remember, these are really broad questions that will lead the student to the next step. They don’t directly tell the student what action they should take.

8. Identify what you will do for struggling readers and writers or strong readers and writers. This will help you differentiate your conferences further.

Here is an example of what I came up with for Unit 1 of Growing Readers:



Stay tuned for a post on how to create a conferring toolkit in which your conferring menu will take center stage!

Post any ideas you might have about conferring menus in the comments. We are learning and growing together!


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

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