Power Language


At its simplest, a conference is a conversation between two people: a conversation aimed at understanding, affirming, and extending what students are doing in their learning lives.

But what makes some of these conversations almost magical while others fall flat? We believe the magic is in the language we use. Strategic language choices allow us to initiate, expand, and elevate conversations with young learners in purposeful ways.

So, in each post of this series – Power Language for Conferring – we offer ideas of language we wouldn’t want to be without as we work to know and nurture the readers beside us.

Each post follows a quick and easy to follow format:  

Today’s power language for conferring:  Here we give an example of the actual language we use with students.

When do we use language like this?  Here we offer practical ideas for when language like this might be most helpful to students.

What makes this language so powerful? Here we help you understand what makes this language so powerful, how it strengthens the conversation, and what other conversational or teaching moves it might position you to make.

What are some variations of this question? In this section we share a few simple variations on the language we’ve offered, helping you to see ways you might adapt the questions for different age groups, genres, subject areas, or situations. 

We want to hear from you!  Here we invite and encourage you to join the conversation about power language, helping others learn from your experience and expertise.  We hope you’ll join our conversation about power language for conferring. We’d love to know your thoughts about this question.  Have you tried it? What happened? What other questions do you rely on to get the conference started? We want to hear from you. You can add a comment, send us a tweet (@Kari_Yates and @ChristinaNosek ), or jump over to our new Facebook group (To Know and Nurture a Reader) and join the conversation there.

Thank you for joining us on this joyful quest to know and nurture every learner through conferring.

Kari and Christina 

Here are the previous posts from our Power Language for Conferring series:

Power Language for Conferring #1: May I join you?

Power Language for Conferring #2: How did you choose this book?

Power Language for Conferring #3: What are you noticing?

Power Language for Conferring #4: How’s it Going? 

Power Language for Conferring #5: Who else needs to know about this_____ ? 

Power Language for Conferring #6: What seems worth thinking more about?

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To learn more about the art and the science of this little conversation called a conference, check out our new book, To Know and Nurture a Reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy from Stenhouse Publishing.

To keep stocking your toolkit with powerful conferring language, subscribe below and we’ll send our next post directly to your inbox.