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Comprehension Through Conversation

The Power of Purposeful Talk in the Reading Workshop

By Maria Nichols
Foreword by Richard L Allington

This practical guide to comprehension, conversation, and collaboration shows you specific ways to use conversation as a scaffolding that bridges prior knowledge to more advanced reading skills and techniques as well as to big ideas such as themes.

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List Price: $23.13

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This product is part of the series:  The Cross Current Series

Full Description

    Maria Nichols offers not possible lessons but full descriptions of actual lessons. Here you’ll find no ivory-tower examples of what might be, but examples of what is already available in many classrooms. These are classrooms of the sort that we hope our children and grandchildren are lucky enough to encounter—not once in a while but routinely.
    —Richard L. Allington
    To say this is an exceptional book about teaching comprehension would be to trivialize it. With superb examples and flawless logic Nichols demonstrates how to orchestrate conversations that build literate habits of mind.
    —Peter H. Johnston, author of Choice Words
    Comprehension Through Conversation captures the power and essence of purposeful, engaging instruction…and reminds us of the real purpose for comprehension instruction: to understand the deeper issues in texts and discuss these ideas to construct meaning.
    —Nancy L. Akhavan author of How to Align Literacy Instruction and Standards

When it comes to reading comprehension, talk isn’t cheap, it’s a valuable way to help children think, articulate their opinions about a text, and get the most from their reading experiences.

Comprehension Through Conversation is a practical guide to comprehension, conversation, and collaboration. Maria Nichols invites you to listen in on reading workshops where purposeful book talk leads students to deeper understandings of fiction, nonfiction, and the world beyond. Moving forward from the widely understood concept that exchanging ideas builds students’ comprehension, Nichols shows you specific ways to use conversation as a scaffolding that bridges prior knowledge to more advanced reading skills and techniques as well as to big ideas such as themes. Her useful ideas for conversations begin with lesson designs that use read-alouds to spark discussions, lead to suggestions for units of study that support children as they read progressively more complex texts, and ultimately build toward fully independent reading and thinking.

Start a new dialogue with your students about reading, thinking, and sharing. Open your curriculum to the types of smart book discussions in Comprehension Through Conversation. You’ll discover that when it comes to increasing reading comprehension, encouraging critical thinking, and creating literate habits of mind, purposeful talk is priceless.

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1. The Importance of Developing the Ability to Think and Talk in Today’s World
2. The Interconnectedness of Language Development and Purposeful Talk
3. Paradigm Shifts: What We’re Pushing Away From, and Why
4. Getting Started: Environments and Instruction that Enable Purposeful Talk
5. Growing Purposeful Talk: Using Read Alouds as the Spark
6. Thinking and Talking About Reading in Increasingly Complex Ways: Immersing Children in Units of Study
7. Building Toward Independence: Moving Reading, Thinking, and Talking Down the Release of Responsibility Slide