How to do writing conferences


There are three things that create a meaningful writing conference:

  • Welcome – You want to welcome the students in a way that tells them what they’re doing and makes them feel good. …
  • Share their writing – Look at a piece, not the whole thing, of their writing. …
  • Set goals – Have students fill out the goal organizers with one or two goals and write down what tools they have to meet their goals. …


What do you do at a writing conference?

Writers conferences to consider for 2021 and beyond

  • General interest. This 3-day interactive virtual experience contains all the information you’ll need to be successful as an author—no matter your genre or goals!
  • Genre fiction. …
  • Blogging. …
  • Freelancing. …
  • Children’s book writing and illustrating. …
  • Christian writing. …
  • International (Outside of U.S.)
  • Canada. …
  • UK & Ireland. …
  • Europe. …

More items…

How do I have a writing conference?

Preparing to write your conference paper

  • Determine the structure and style. How will you structure your presentation? …
  • Consider the conventions of the conference and the structure of your session. It is important to meet the expectations of your conference audience. …
  • Analyze your audience. …

What to expect at a writer’s conference?

What to Expect

  • Packing List. What do I need to bring? We always encourage you to bring the essentials. …
  • Book Consignment. I’ve heard I can sell my publications in the bookstore. How does that work? …
  • Registration & Lodging. I’m not sure I can afford it. Are there any discounts available? …
  • One-to-One Preparation. How do I prepare for my one-to-one appointments? …

Should you go to Writers Conference?

The answer is a definite yes. No matter where you are in your career as a writer, attending a conference will benefit you. In this post, we’ll explain all of the reasons why you should get yourself to the next conference. What is a Writers’ Conference? A writers’ conference is an annual meeting of literary professionals.


What makes a good writing conference?

Speak in a conversational tone. Tone is the foundation of the good relationships you want to develop with students over the course of the school year. Speaking in a warm, friendly manner puts students at ease and makes it more likely they will talk with you about what they’re trying to do as writers.

What is conferencing in writing process?

A writing conference is, first and foremost, a conversation. The word conversation suggests so many things about the way you should talk with your students. The goal of a writing conference is to teach students something about writing that they can use in the future.

What are the four parts of a writing conference?

The workshop setting supports children in taking their writing seriously and viewing themselves as writers. The four main components of writing workshop are the mini-lesson, status of the class, writing/conferring time, and sharing.

How do you hold a writers conference?

1:185:55Conducting an Effective Student Writing Conference – YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipThe first step for getting ready for your conference is to prepare. And you can do that by goingMoreThe first step for getting ready for your conference is to prepare. And you can do that by going over your notes from a previous conference. So that you walk into that conference.

How do you start guided writing?

The instructional procedures for guided writing lessons are now described, divided into four steps.Step 1: Brief, Shared Experience. … Step 2: Discussion of Strategic Behavior for Writing. … Step 3: Students’ Time to Write Individually With Immediate Guidance From the Teacher.More items…•

What is guided writing strategy?

Guided writing is a small group approach, involving the teacher meeting with a group of students with similar writing needs. It can be thought of as a group conference or small group mini-lesson, undertaken strategically in response to an identified challenge faced by the selected students.

How long should a writing conference be?

A “typical” conference usually lasts 4-5 minutes for me. (Use a timer! This has really helped me stay on track during conferences!) If your independent writing time is about 25 minutes long, then you might get through 4, maybe 5 students each day.

How do you structure a writer’s workshop?

7 Steps to a Great Writing WorkshopStep 1: Set up a writing workshop framework. … Step 2: Be a writer! … Step 3: Create a writing community. … Step 4: Provide many models and topic choices. … Step 5: Let students work at their own pace. … Step 6: Invite peer responses. … Step 7: Offer your support.

What does a writing workshop involve?

They engage in the writing process by selecting topics, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their original work. They receive explicit instruction in the craft of writing from exploring genre, to organizing their pieces, to word choice, style, and mechanics.

What happens at a writers conference?

At a writers’ conference, you may be able to meet with an editor for a mini-critique session. During this 10- to 15-minute sit-down session, your editor will evaluate a limited sample of your manuscript (for example, the first 20 pages) and may provide you with written notes for improvement.

What is a student teacher writing conference?

Teacher-Student Writing Conferences are “private conversations between teacher and student about the student’s writing or writing processes” (Sperling, 1991, p. 132). Murray (1985) called these conversations “professional discussion between writers” on students’ writings (p. 140).

What is a mentor text?

Mentor texts are pieces of literature that you — both teacher and student — can return to and reread for many different purposes. They are texts to be studied and imitated … Mentor texts help students to take risks and be different writers tomorrow than they are today.


If we are working with a student, that leaves twenty-odd other students we aren’t working with. We’ve got to be able to depend on them to still be productive so we can focus on helping the student we are with, without distractions or interruptions.


Now that our independent writing time is conducive to meeting with students one-to-one, let’s dig into that writing conference itself. It is absolutely unreasonable to consistently hold 8-minute writing conferences… 5-minute writing conferences are tough, too… and so are 4-minute writing conferences.


Two-minute writing conferences may be the main interaction we have with our student writers during independent writing time, but it’s not the only type we can have.


So how do we meld together all these types of interactions during independent writing? Let’s use our two-minute one-to-one writing conferences as our foundation. And let’s look at our writing strategy groups as running parallel–we’re forming those groups based on our one-to-one conferences.

Before the Conferences

Prior to meeting with my students, I quickly read their essays, making no marks on the papers and instead recording three things in my own notes: a score from the rubric I was using for the essay, one aspect of the writing task the student did well, and one aspect the student needed to work on.

During the Conferences

While students worked on a long-term project that was due at the end of the week, I met with each one individually for five minutes.

After the Conferences

I gave students a due date for submitting their revised essays, and we debriefed as a class about the conference process. Students said unequivocally that they had learned far more from discussing their writing for five minutes than they ever had from the comments I wrote on their papers.

Why This Activity Is Worth Your Class Time

Because my classes average around 30 students, this activity was a substantial time commitment. It took three full class periods of 55 minutes, and quite a bit of my own focused energy, to conference with each student. The benefits were definitely worth the cost.

What is a writing conference?

A writing conference, like any type of one-on-one instruction, can be truly powerful. It gives us an opportunity to pause and really notice what a child is doing. We see where they are with their writing. We better understand how they feel about writing. And it also gives us a chance to provide just-right instruction.

How long is a typical writing conference?

Where you are in the school year. If you are launching a unit, in the middle of a unit, or finishing up a unit. A “typical” conference usually lasts 4-5 minutes for me.

How many conferences can you have with one child?

Remember that you can teach a strategy more than one time! Most kids (especially our little ones) need lots of reinforcement. You can have 2-3 conferences with one child on the same strategy! Make a plan beforehand for your conferences.

1. Have the Right Mindset

The right mindset is key. Think of yourself as a writing professional who is seeking mutually beneficial relationships with other writing professionals. And now here’s the big secret: understand that they need you just as much as you need them.

4. Know Who the Presenters Are

Now that you’ve chosen and registered for your writer’s conference, it’s time to learn all you can about the staff:

5. Join the Writer’s Conference Facebook Group

Once you’re familiar with who’s who, it’s time to join the event Facebook Group:

6. Arrive a Day Early

The day of the event will be pure pandemonium. Flight delays. Lost luggage. You name it.

7. Dress to Impress

Most people will slouch around the writer’s conference in jeans and workout clothes, lugging the event-monikered tote-bag everywhere. Don’t be most people. We’re not talking about donning an evening gown or tuxedo. Or being so over-dressed that you look ridiculous.

9. Wake Up Early & Stay Up Late

Your big writer’s conference is no time to catch up on your zzz’s. Instead, you want to make the most of every opportunity. There are two types of people on staff:

10. Follow-up

Most people won’t bother to follow-up. So don’t be most people. You should already be connected to most of the staff members on social media, so you can shoot them a direct message.
This message should not be about you, but about them and how, specifically, they made a difference in your life.

Pitching to Agents at a Writing Conference

Nervous about pitching to an agents at a writing conference? Valley of Shadows author Steven Cooper has a few tips to make sure your pitch is a success.

Cartoonist Bob Eckstein Returns to the 2019 Annual Writer’s Digest Conference

Cartoonist Bob Eckstein will be covering the 2019 Annual Writer’s Digest Conference with his art and tweets on Twitter and in a post-conference post for In this post, he shares some of his cartoons along with tips for conference goers.

Writing Tips From Writer’s Digest Conference Instructors

As we make final preparations for the 2019 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, here’s a taste of some of the writing tips you’ll enjoy from our speakers.

7 Experiences to Look Forward to at the 2019 Writer’s Digest Conference

Find out a few of the sessions and events we’re most looking forward to at the upcoming Writer’s Digest Annual Conference!

19 Diversity-Focused Writing Conferences & Events in 2019

Although 2019 is well under way, there’s still time to register for these diversity-centric writing conferences and events taking place later this year.

3 Key Novel Writing Tips: Wisdom from the Authors Speaking in the 2019 Virtual Conference for Novelists

Check out a sneak peek at a few of the things you can expect to learn from three of the presenters at the 2019 Virtual Novel Writing Conference, plus a little bit about each of them.

N.K. Jemisin to Present Opening Keynote at Writer’s Digest Conference 2019

We’re thrilled to announce that author N.K. Jemisin will present the opening keynote at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. Learn more about Jemisin and two more exciting announcements.

Get my FREE Writing Guide!

Would you like a list of all of the lessons that your students will need this year during writing? This free guide is packed with specific lesson ideas for narrative, opinion and informational writing.

Why Conference?

Conferencing time is your time to differentiate and meet the needs of each of your students in your classroom. Our classrooms are not made up of students all at the same writing level.

When Do I Conference?

Writing conferences happen when the rest of your class is working on independent writing. Remember, you will need to do a lot of training with your class to be sure that they can independently write. Model! Model! Model!

How Do I Make Conference Groups?

I realized that I can not meet with every student individually. So, writing conferences should be done in small groups. The key is that all students in each group should have similar needs. They won’t always be identical needs, and that’s okay.

Have a Schedule

Now you have groups with similar needs and you will only need to meet with one group per day. Each group will meet with you once per week now. This is manageable! Spend 15-20 minutes with your conference group, and you will still have time to check in with the rest of your class.

Keep Them Short!

You are not going to have a ton of time. You can’t read every student’s piece in its entirety. So focus on just one skill.

Writing Resources

All of the printables that have been pictured in this blog post are part of my writing units. The units also include daily lesson plans, anchor charts, mentor text passages, task cards and more. Click HERE to read more about them.

What are the benefits of writing conferences?

Benefits of the Writing Conference strategy: 1 It provides immediate feedback 2 It creates a positive attitude among students towards writing and motivates them to improve their work 3 It structures the teaching process around the student’s skill level and understanding 4 It addresses and improves writing skills including the process of writing

What is a conference record?

A record of the conference is to be maintained for each student. One can take note of the skills or phases addressed, tips and ideas suggested and the outcome of the conference in these records. A checklist can also be maintained to ensure that a conference has been conducted with every student and that a uniform set of topics has been addressed …

How can teachers model new strategies?

During the workshops, teachers can model new strategies by analyzing their own work, using the “think aloud strategy.”. In doing so, teachers can both familiarize and empower students with the mode of questioning, enabling them to critically appraise their own work.

Why is it important to use conversational style in writing?

Using a conversational style in each conference, the teacher can gain insight into the student’s thought process. It will also help the teacher decide where the student should advance to in terms of his/her writing. It is important to note that questions should be tailor made, as each student is different.

Can a teacher call students to their desk for a conference?

Typically it is best to have the class work independently at their desks while the teacher calls one student at a time to their desk for a conference. As the conferences are held during various phases of writing, the skills and the phases required for writing can be worked on, along with the application of various writing strategies and tips.

Why do students lose motivation in writing?

Students lose motivation in writing if they do not get feedback from their teacher. Conferences are the easiest time to give your students quick and immediate feedback. It is easier to hold small conferences and give oral feedback to your students as they are working on their drafts and learning how to write.

Can you make a small group for writing?

Just like you have small groups for reading, you can make small groups for writing! While your writers are working on their independent writing, you can meet with a small group for a conference. It’s life changing. If you want to read more about group conferences, click HERE.


Before The Conferences

During The Conferences

  • While students worked on a long-term project that was due at the end of the week, I met with each one individually for five minutes. They would sit down next to me with their essay and reflection sheet. I had the notes I had taken previously while reading the essays, and I set a timer on my phone for five minutes. The student would tell me what sco…

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After The Conferences

  • I gave students a due date for submitting their revised essays, and we debriefed as a class about the conference process. Students said unequivocally that they had learned far more from discussing their writing for five minutes than they ever had from the comments I wrote on their papers. In the past, I had always told students that I was available to talk with them about their …

See more on

Why This Activity Is Worth Your Class Time

  • Because my classes average around 30 students, this activity was a substantial time commitment. It took three full class periods of 55 minutes, and quite a bit of my own focused energy, to conference with each student. The benefits were definitely worth the cost. With individually targeted instruction, students were more likely to pay attention to and apply the idea…

See more on

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