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.

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