Search Mobile Navigation

Teaching Talk

A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation

Teaching Talk is a practical resource that will help you focus your lens on classroom talk, making the most of the student voices and ideas that are already part of your classroom, and increasing the potential for learning.

Special Offer: Save 30% off our list price automatically when you buy 15 or more.


In Stock

List Price: $26.88

Web/School Price: $21.50

eBook + Print Bundle
Full Description

Talk is part of every classroom, regardless of grade, content area, or school location. So how can teachers harness the energy of talk to spark discussion, strengthen student dialogue, and deepen comprehension?

Teaching Talk is a practical resource that will help you focus your lens on classroom talk, making the most of the student voices and ideas that are already part of your classroom, and increasing the potential for learning. Kara Pranikoff offers suggestions and strategies that can be used immediately, starting with a comprehensive list of questions to help teachers assess and reflect on student talk. Each chapter addresses an element of classroom talk along with concrete examples to help you: 

  • collect and analyze artifacts of talk
  • provide opportunities for students to share their ideas
  • create conversations orchestrated by students and grounded in their ideas
  • strengthen both talking and listening in conversation
  • reflect on progress, set goals and refine instruction.

Conversation is the currency of most ideas in the world. With Teaching Talk as your guide, you’ll help students develop the skills they need to be inquisitive, independent, and critical thinkers in all aspects of their lives.


Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)


Acknowledgments   xi Foreword   xvii Introduction:
Talk Is Expansive   xxi
  What Is Student Talk?   xxiii
  Why Teach Talk?   xxv
  Where to Begin?   xxxi
Chapter 1: Learning How to Listen   1
  How to Listen Better   2
    Collecting Artifacts of Talk   4
    Analyzing Artifacts of Talk   8
  Moving from Assessment and Reflection to Action   9
Chapter 2: Developing Independent Ideas Through Partner Talk   16:
  Getting Started with Partner Talk   17
  Practicing in Partnerships   20
    Using Visual Images for Partner Talk   20
      Resources for Images   23
    Using Picture Books for Partner Talk   25
      Preparing for Partner Talk About a Picture Book   26
    Using a Longer Text for Partner Talk   31
      Texts to Consider   35
  Assess, Reflect, and Act: Develop a Mind-Set That Guides Growth   37
  Taking Partner Talk to Independent Reading   37
Chapter 3: Applying Partner-Talk Strategies in the Larger Group   41
  Why Learn to Talk as a Whole Class?   43
  Centering Whole-Class Conversations with Independent Thinking   45
    Create a Conversational Space   45
    Encourage Talk Between Partnerships   46
    Support Talk Through Observation, Notation, and Facilitation   49
  Assess, Reflect, and Act: Engage Students to Problem-Solve Through Talk   50
  Applying Whole-Class Strategies to Book Clubs   55
Chapter 4: Helping Students Become Better Talkers   60
  Putting Social Influence to Work   61
  Supporting the Range of Speakers in the Classroom   64
    Small-Group Strategy Lessons for the Frequent Talker   70
      Making Connections to Whole-Class Conversations   75
    Small-Group Strategy Lessons for the Quieter Student   76
      Making Connections to Whole-Class Conversations   83
  Assess, Reflect, and Act: Help Students to Set Personal Goals   83
  Listening for All Learners   85
Chapter 5: Guiding Studentsto Become Deeper Thinkers   90
  Putting Comprehension Strategies to Work   93
  Deepening Independent Thinking   94
    Read and React   95
    Linger with an Idea   102
      Making Connections to Whole-Class Conversations   109
  Assess, Reflect, and Act: Whole-Class Learning from Individual Idea Statements   112
  Strategic Use of the Teacher Voice to Deepen Thinking   114
Chapter 6: The Power of Talk   119
  Talk Builds Community   123
  Talk Builds Connection   125
  Talk Empowers Students   127
Works Cited   129

In Depth

The process of studying classroom conversation is interwoven into each chapter of this book. You’ll see how saving conversations (through video, audio, or transcription) allows you and your students to bring a reflective stance to classroom talk, analyzing both the logistics of the discussion (who talked, how the talk flowed, the tone of the talk) and the depth of the discussion (how ideas changed and grew, understandings that developed as a result of the talk, the influence group talk has on independent thought). This process, applied repeatedly in many situations across time, provides the means for students to develop their skills as conversationalists and their ability to use talk to deepen their comprehension—two fundamental skills of a learner, regardless of age or discipline. Each chapter of this book addresses one element of classroom talk. The chapters include suggestions about how to focus your instructions, views of classroom work, and strategies to reflect on progress, set goals, and refine instruction. Again, it’s worth noting, the ideas in this book are written as possibilities and suggestions. They grew organically across years and classrooms, with the teachers and students I have had the privilege of working with. Ultimately, this book is fodder for your own reflection as a teacher faced with the following aspects of teaching talk in the classroom:

  • how to begin to focus on classroom talk
  • how to provide opportunities for students to share their ideas with partners
  • how to create whole-class discussions orchestrated by the students and grounded in their ideas
  • how to help students become stronger conversationalists
  • how to help students use talk to deepen their own independent thinking. I’m certain you’ll take these chapters, bring them into your classroom, and add your own twist. I see teaching as the most personal of professions. Wherever you encounter the exciting challenge of teaching talk in your classroom, I invite you to turn the pages, to read, and think, and keep up the conversation.
— From the Introduction


Companion Resources

Download Kara Pranikoff's 5 Core Beliefs About Students Infographic

Download a blank version of Kara Pranikoff's 5 Core Beliefs About Students Infographic

Download Kara Pranikoff's Guide to Capturing Student Thinking