Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Temporarily Out of Stock Online Please check back later for updated availability. Overview Use the teaching ideas in this rich resource to improve your students' reading comprehension. By nurturing meaningful talk about reading and learning, you can monitor and support students' metacognitive use of strategies such as predicting, making connections, questioning, visualizing, and summarizing.
A comprehensive breakdown of the components of each strategy helps you support learners from the introduction of a strategy to students' independent use of it. Strategy chapters present numerous activities, and the appendixes contain a matrix that shows what activities can be used to teach each strategy, as well as numerous reproducible forms and graphic organizers. Product Details About the Author. About the Author Michelle J.
Average Review. Write a Review. The children— who came from diverse linguistic, economic, and social backgrounds—began the school year with below average to average literacy skills. Meridith, the teacher and second author , had 12 years of teaching experience; throughout the yearlong study, she acted as both a researcher and a participant, trying out and reflecting on each of our instructional ideas. Our goal was for the children to collaboratively construct interpretations of texts through group discussions.
Knowing that research has demonstrated that discussion supports comprehension Wells ; Nystrand , we set out to teach young children to engage in such exchanges. Discussion also offers the benefit of being inclusive of students from diverse backgrounds. However, powerful literary discussions do not emerge naturally in the primary grades.
Through our study, we expected to address the following standards, which focus on collaborative talk, following discussion norms, adding to the contributions of others, and asking questions:. From the beginning of the year, Meridith taught speaking and listening in academic contexts. She supported children in listening to and learning from each other, preparing for discussions, and taking responsibility for discussions. Meridith provided explicit instruction in speaking and listening. First, she focused on teaching students to listen.
She offered explanations, modeled appropriate behaviors, and gave children time to practice sitting up, resisting distractions, and looking at the speaker. When students struggled to stay focused, she gently encouraged the speaker to pause until all the students were looking.
In the following transcript from a fall classroom observation, Meridith provided explicit instruction about how to listen during whole-group discussions:. At the start of every year, I envision students independently engaging in meaningful discussions while I take notes and think about how these grand conversations will guide my instruction. Then I remember it is August and they are six. Starting with basics—such as body language, conversational turns, and voice projection—helps set the tone for future discourse. While it seems simple, and we often assume children have already internalized these skills, many have not.
Investing time in explicitly teaching basic conversation skills allows children to be more independent and go deeper with their thoughts. Meridith taught students to take ownership of discussion norms.
She expected children to wait until there was silence and eye contact from everyone before they started to talk. If children began speaking before listeners were ready, she would remind them to get the attention of the audience. She had students take responsibility for calling on each other, including recognizing who still needed to participate in the conversation. Brandi: Will you please stop, Logan? So, can you please be really serious in the group?
Putting power in the hands of the students produced one of their greatest transformations because it held them accountable and made them leaders. It was an initiative to steer them away from the traditional classroom discourse in which teachers ask questions and students raise their hands to respond. The children quickly learned that I was not the only one who had power.
The relationship between the development of standards and teacher education is also an important gap in current knowledge. Leveraging observation tools for instructional improvement: Exploring variability in uptake of ambitious instructional practices. In the first.. Across all levels, summarizing was the most frequently observed strategy in connection to all kinds of texts; making predictions and scanning were the next two most observed strategies in connection to fictional texts, and close reading and skimming were the next two most observed strategies connected to nonfictional texts. The Arts. Vision Statement.
Encouraging students to ask each other for questions, comments, or connections helped them move conversations forward without my support. Those three words were a catalyst for collaborative conversations as children discovered their classmates had ideas to share and that a conversation was a two-way street. During informal one-on-one conferences that Meridith regularly had with each child, they discussed their thoughts on the texts and which ones would be good topics to bring up at the group discussion.
When students came together, they had comments and questions ready. In the following exchange from the spring, Meridith explored with the class why thinking about the text beforehand is helpful for discussion. Meridith: I want you to reread your literature discussion book, stop and think, and use your stickies. Meridith: Interesting and bigger, I like the way you said that. And one of the ways we achieve that is by using our sticky notes and thinking. I feared they would focus on spelling or the process of writing rather than on generating thoughtful ideas to share. I was wrong.
As I introduced and modeled different uses for stickies, my students used them with great intent.
It is not always easy to think on the spot—sticky notes helped us collect our thoughts before participating, enabling students to voice their ideas and be heard and valued. Meridith first taught speaking and listening in the context of turn and talk and whole-group discussions. As students gained independence, they moved into teacher-scaffolded small-group discussions and later small-group discussions with minimal adult support.
Meridith used turn and talk in a variety of settings— such as during morning message and lessons—not just in literature discussions. For turn and talk, she asked an open-ended question and gave the children two to three minutes to discuss it with their assigned partner. Meridith then called the students back together and asked them to share their thinking and what they learned from their partners. To make turn and talk successful, Meridith started working with students at the beginning of the year to ensure they knew the basics of how to talk and listen.
She emphasized the importance of physically turning to face partners and of making eye contact.
To encourage engaged listening, Meridith often asked students to retell what their partners had said. In this transcript from the beginning of the year, Meridith modeled asking questions, provided explicit instruction in speaking and listening, and checked in with different student groups. Meridith: Remember, you want to be looking that person in the eye, straight forward.
Brief pause. Now, ready?
Ask the question. Meridith: You were all chitter-chattering very nicely. I saw you looking each other in the eye, listening.
I saw some heads nodding. Meridith engages Kelsey in conversation. Kelsey shares that she had a good weekend. Meridith asks what she did and whom she saw. Meridith: Turning to the whole class. Do you see how I asked some questions? Turn and talk helped children work on their conversational skills on a small scale. They were expected to use eye contact, responsive body language, and engaged listening with only one person.
For many, especially dual language learners, this was the least intimidating conversation type. Having a consistent turn and talk partner helped build strong relationships; as time progressed, partners opened up more. In August, students began sharing their thinking about books they each had chosen and read independently, something they continued to work on throughout the year.
To support children in engaging in these discussions, Meridith gave them a clear framework: One student would share about a book while the others listened. As this transcript shows, Meridith provided specific instruction on expected listening behaviors during a literature circle later in the year:. Whole-group literature discussions were definitely the most challenging. Getting 28 first-graders to care about what each had to say seemed overwhelming; but we kept reviewing listening and speaking expectations, and over time the discussions transformed.
Students started to see the value in whole-group discussions as the discussions became a forum for sharing and recommending books. After the children learned the norms of whole-group literature discussions, they began small-group discussions about a book they had all read. In this springtime classroom observation, Meridith guided Evan in order to help him and the other group members learn how to facilitate their own discussion with less adult support. Small-group literature discussions were my favorite because they were full of energy.
The children loved discussing a common text. Because of this, we modeled effective conversation insertions and provided explicit instruction and language frames to help children get back on track.