Friday, April 22, 2016

Speaking and Listening Standards: Preschool Through Third Grade...Kinds of Talk

In this series of blogs, the focus is on Standard 2: Kinds of Talk and Resulting Genre.

In the introduction, the authors say:

Like adults, children talk for a variety of reasons or purposes.  Among the major reasons people talk are to:

^Inform, entertain, and persuade others

^Present themselves, their topics, or their point of view to others

^Negotiate or pose relationships with others

^Evaluate people, information, or events

^Think, teach and learn

They go on to say:

                “By the time they are three years old, children already talk for many of these purposes. They can discuss a joint focus of attention (for example, a stack of blocks), tell about recent and sometimes more distant past events, and share their feelings and reactions and react to the feels and reactions of others.  They can talk about their actions ask people to explain what they mean, and talk about changing objects, actions and people in pretend play.  Typically, then 3 year olds use language to get what they want or to express their point of view……” (p. 9)

…children can practice and accomplish a variety of purposes:


*Explaining and seeking Information

*Getting things done

*Producing and responding to performances
….to be continued on the next several posts

Friday, April 15, 2016

Choosing Stories to Read: Some Resources

Short on Words, Big on Conversation

Burkis and Yaris offer one resource for choosing books for discussion. 

A short excerpt:

“Rich conversations support deeper understanding during read aloud, but sometimes time constraints can limit opportunities to discuss stories. We, along with a number of dear colleagues, have been collecting read aloud titles that are short, yet dense enough to support rich conversations.

In collaboration with our Good to Great friends–members of our #G2Great Professional Learning Network PLN*, which was founded around Dr. Mary Howard’s book Good to Great Teaching. The group has compiled a list of some of our favorite short-but-deep read aloud titles. The books on this list are brief enough to read in one sitting, yet engaging enough to invite thoughtful conversation. Each story succinctly offers beautifully integrated print and illustration, giving students much to explore and talk about. Such textual engagement is the cornerstone of our new book, Who’s Doing the Work? and the core of all our work with students and teachers.

Most importantly, Book Source (@thebooksource) has agreed to assemble these titles in one place for us (and for you) and to donate two-percent of purchases of titles on this list. The two percent will be donated to students who live on Native American reservations in Minnesota–many of whom do not have books in their homes or access to a public library–giving them the opportunity to choose books they can keep. In particular, this effort has been designed to support their summer reading. Click the image below to access the list at Booksource and help put books in the hands of Native American students this summer.”

Here are two other sources that address the importance of story reading

Dialogic reading works. Children who have been read to dialogically are substantially ahead of children who have been read to traditionally on tests of language ...

Dialogic encourages adults to prompt children with questions ... Dialogic reading is an interactive technique based on the ... Video courtesy of Reading Rockets

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Discussing Books from Speaking and Listening Standards

Speaking and Listening Standards for Preschool Through Third Grade

The 4th category under Habits is “Discussing Books Leads to Meaningful Topics.”

The emphasis in this section is on discussion.  Although many children come to school, even preschool, with a history of an adult reading to them, the emphasis here is on children fully participating in the discussion of the book.  [See, for example, the literature on Dialogic Reading.] The authors say “….talking about books helps children reach a deeper understanding of their meaning.  Discussing books also helps children practice the kind of academic talk that is expected in school…” (p. 8)  

The authors note that book talk builds over time.  It is easy to see that talking about books changes and becomes an increasingly more important as children move from preschool to elementary school and beyond.  What the book “discussion” is about becomes increasingly more complex and abstract.  While preschools may relate the book to their own lives, by second and third grade “…the quality of book talk increases dramatically….  Seven and eight year olds should discuss the details of books, including word meanings, word choices, literary devices, subplots, character motivation, and main ideas…” (pp. 8-9)

One other change in book reading that occurs over time is reading books of different genre.  Interestingly, Standard 2 (coming next) is “Kinds of Talk and Resulting Genres.”  The parallels between speaking/listening and reading/writing become increasingly more evident as the authors move to Standards 2 and 3.

Vocabulary and Talking at Length on a Topic

Here is a link to an excellent article on Vocabulary as it relates to conversation and reading together: