A Division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Heinemann

Knee to Knee, Eye to Eye

Circling in on Comprehension

Ardith Cole

ISBN 978-0-325-00494-5 / 0-325-00494-3 / 2003 / 176pp / Paperback
Imprint: Heinemann
Availability: In Stock
Grade Level: K - 6th
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Imagine this:
First graders analyzing texts, critiquing ideas, debating points, and making connections. Third graders sharing analogies between slaves' lives in the 1800s and their own. Fifth graders synthesizing elements of foreshadowing before the term is even mentioned.

This is what literature conversations are all about. And this is what Ardith Cole writes about in this book, a comprehensive, inspiring guide to the art and practice of literature conversations.

Cole is committed to literature conversations because she has watched them change lives and perspectives, build confidence and compassion, and produce dramatic consequences, both in and out of the classroom. That's why she wants teachers to understand the importance of teaching children how to talk about their reading. In Knee to Knee, Eye to Eye Cole addresses text, organization, management, assessment, and the tremendous amount of learning that occurs through the powerful, engaging combination of books and talk. Most important, she offers a step-by-step guided comprehension process in which teachers have students:

  • observe, analyze, and investigate the workings of a real conversation
  • "wonder" with a partner after a read-aloud
  • refine content and behaviors in one large literature conversation
  • use the process in a small group without the teacher's presence
  • read independently for conversation grist that will later drive interactions and assessments.

Because dialogue is critical to this process, the book features plentiful examples to demonstrate the higher levels of thinking and rich discussions that occur as students move into constructing their own knowledge. An appendix includes textual resources to use during read-aloud modeling lessons and sample conversation transcriptions that are handy examples for instruction and assessment.

Create a conversation community in your classroom. Invite your students into this culture of focused talk. Build relationships between and among students. And watch as they develop deep, reflective conversations as reading becomes an adventure in learning.

1. Observing the Conversation Process
2. Dynamic Duos: Wondering with a Partner
3. Calling the Circle
4. Student Small-Group Response After Teacher Read-Alouds
5. Autonomous Response Triads After Independent Reading
A. Bibliography of Read-Aloud Books
B. Transcriptions from Literature Conversations

In Depth

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"This book is a guide for teachers on how to conduct successful literature conversations in classrooms. A veteran teacher herself, Cole believes that opportunities for literature conversation are about more than comprehension. By creating space for talk and training students to listen and converse with each other, teachers can build community and help young people discover more about themselves, learn to think deeply, and become active and "voiceful" citizens..."

Published in Language Arts Journal Review, 2004, Vol. 81: 4.

Email planningservices@heinemann.com if you would like to contact Ardith Cole directly about professional development support.

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