Supporting Conversations

CMtoXX8WEAAIxFSGoal 12 in The Reading Strategies Book provides teachers with 21 lessons on how to foster talk in the classroom.  The introduction to the goal provides readers with the knowledge of why talk is important.  Serravallo provides this helpful continuum of conversation skills in the introduction:

  • active listening
  • body language
  • staying on the topic
  • conversation worthy topics
  • elaborating
  • respectful language
  • accountability
  • balance
  • keeping conversation moving
  • questioning
  • stamina
  • flexible thinking
  • debate
  • empathy

Each of the 21 lessons in the chapter focuses on one of the above mentioned skills.  Here are some great ideas from the lessons:

  • If conversations fall flat it is likely the students are being overly literal or just retelling the story p. 326
  • Listening begins with your whole body p. 328
  • Some teachers like to use talking tickets to see who is talking and who has a lot remaining p. 330
  • “I heard you say _____.  What I think is _____.”
  • take turns without raising hands p. 332
  • Partner menus help provide ideas on what to talk about p. 333
  • “This reminds me of _____ and that helps me understand ____ in the book.”
  • Have students use a conversation playing board to talk about post-its p. 336
  • Students can respond by:  adding on, agreeing, disagreeing, supporting, or asking questions p. 338
  • talking across books fosters deeper thinking p. 340

My favorite strategy lesson was 12.20 titled Power Questions.  This lesson helps students to realize that their questions can help keep conversations going.  By sharing the chart below readers can become aware of how their questions keep the conversation growing.

IMG_8011 copyThis chapter reminds me of the acronym shared by Alissa Levy at the TCRWP Summer Institute.  In her session titled “How Can I Get My Students To Do More Than Just Read” we were asked us to remember K.I.S.S. – Keep It Social Silly.  “Teaching reading is hard because what students really do is invisible – talking and writing help make reading visible.”

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