Why is talk so important?
There is a simple answer to this. Talk is fundamental to all learning, including making sense of texts. As Robin Alexander put it in 2010, in the final report of the Cambridge Primary Review:
‘Talk – at home, at school, among peers – is education at its most potent. It is the aspect of teaching which has arguably the greatest purchase on learning.’ (2010: 36)
It is through the conversations about shared texts with the teacher, and with peers, that the child comes to better understand and make sense of the words and other aspects of the text. Meaning is co-constructed and deepened through the guided conversation, and this is more than could be achieved as a solitary reader.
However, ‘any old talk’ will not do. What we have tried to demonstrate in the case studies in our book is how teachers can skilfully shape reading conversations to deepen thinking, rather than simply report surface details of what has been read.
Still have questions? Send them to the Guiding Reading team.
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