“Let’s Talk About It!” Time! - Are Your Students Ready?
When readers sit side-by-side with a reading partner, there are many things we hope for them to do. Regardless of age, we hope partnerships will:
- Share and extend each other’s thinking about their books
- Support each other through difficulties that might arise
- Celebrate each other’s hard work
- Practice listening and speaking skills while being social around a text
The big purpose of partnerships is to help one another attend to text in different ways. A by-product is that it sets readers up with an accountability system to think about the reading work they do independently. If readers read, knowing that they have a partner to share with, then partnerships essentially become an independent reading tool to help with comprehension.
“Let’s Talk About It!” Time
Here is a possible way a partnership’s time might go:
- Decide who will share first
- Decide what to talk about together
- One partner talks, the other listens and responds
- The other partner talks, and the other listens and responds
- Make a plan for the next meeting
In order for partners to really use each other to extend comprehension, they must be able to prepare talking points prior to the time for sharing.Here are a few tips to help them during independent reading time:
Teach students to prepare artifacts to use in conversation.
In primary grades, we might teach students to mark spots in their books with Post-it Notes. They might start by jotting down how the text is making them feel. In upper grades, we might encourage students to jot in a notebook to help them capture thinking. Either way, they become artifacts of thinking that occurred during independent reading that can be used in partnership conversations.
Teach students to notice difficulty and ask their partner for help.
As students are reading, we can encourage them to mark the parts that felt challenging to them. During “Let’s Talk About It!” time, students can ask their partner to help them work through it. When a partner shares how he/she might address the issue, it could become a reading strategy the for other partner to use during future readings.
Teach students how to set goals and monitor them with their partners.
As teachers, think about the times you might have to read and discuss text with someone else. The next time you have that opportunity, pay close attention to what and how that person talks about it. They might just shape the way you put your eyes on the next text you read! It also might give you ideas of how to support the reading partnerships in your classroom!