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The Conferring Handbook
by Lucy Calkins, Zoë Ryder White, Amanda Hartman, and the Units of Study for Primary Writing Co-Authors

All year, on every day of the writing workshop, teachers confer with individual writers as they learn to write. This handbook offers twenty-one of the most useful and fundamental conferences a primary writing teacher can have over the course of a year. Each of the three key conferences per unit includes prompts, exact language, and examples so that teachers can use these conferences again and again with their students throughout the units of study.

PART ONE: Launching the Writing Workshop
PART TWO: Small Moments: Personal Narrative Writing
PART THREE: Writing for Readers: Teaching Skills and Strategies
PART FOUR: The Craft of Revision
PART FIVE: Authors as Mentors
PART SIX: Nonfiction Writing: Procedures and Reports
PART SEVEN: Poetry: Powerful Thoughts in Tiny Packages
PART ONE: Launching the Writing Workshop

"What's the Story in This Picture?"
Teach a child to draw representationally and to compose oral stories that accompany her drawings.

"Where Is Your Writing?"
Teach a child that during writing there's no option but to write, then help her listen to and record sounds in a word.

"Let Me Show You How to Write More"
Teach a child to focus on his writing and to write sentences.

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PART TWO: Small Moments: Personal Narrative Writing

"Will You Touch Each Page and Say What You'll Write?"
Teach a child to plan, say, and sketch a story out across several pages.

"Let Me Help You Put Some Words Down"
Teach a child to listen for and record the sounds in a word.

"As a Reader, I'd Love to Hear More About That"
Teach a child to revise by adding details to his words.

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PART THREE: Writing for Readers: Teaching Skills and Strategies

"Say and Record a Word, Then Reread"
Teach a child whose writing looks like (but isn't) random strings of letters to reread and organize the letters into words.

"If You Erase That Word and Scoot It Over, It Will Be Easier to Read"
Teach a child to reread, fixing places where a lack of white space makes the text difficult to read.

"Famous Writers Use Periods to Tell Readers When to Stop"
Teach a child to punctuate.

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PART FOUR: The Craft of Revision

"This Part Is Confusing to Me"
Teach a child to reread for sense and to revise to clarify the content.

"Can You Reenact That Part in a Way That Shows Me How You Felt?"
Teach a child to show, not tell.

"Study an Example to Get Ideas for Revision"
Teach a child to revise by adding descriptive details.

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PART FIVE: Authors as Mentors

"You Can Use Ellipses to Show Waiting"
Help a child learn more about punctuation from studying the text of a mentor author.

"Use a Refrain"
Teach a child to emulate whatever she admires in another author's text.

"What Else Could You Try That Mem Fox Does?"
Teach a child to notice more aspects of a mentor author's writing.

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PART SIX: Nonfiction Writing: Procedures and Reports

"Make a Mental Movie of Yourself Following Your Directions to See If They're Clear"
Teach a child to reread for sense.

"What Will You Write in Your Table of Contents?"
Teach a child to anticipate subtopics and write them as chapter headings in a table of contents.

"If There's No Punctuation, When I Read Your Writing, It Sounds Like Gobbledygook"
Teach a child to punctuate to make the meaning clear.

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PART SEVEN: Poetry: Powerful Thoughts in Tiny Packages

"Can You Think of One Moment That Holds the Big Feeling the Ocean Gives You?"
Teach a child to focus her big feeling around a specific moment.

"Are Those the Sounds You Hear?"
Teach a child to say the words and then write down only the sounds he actually hears.

"Can You Help Me See What You Saw?"
Teach a child to develop a poem by showing, not telling.

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