Talk That Teaches

Using Strategic Talk to Help Students Achieve the Common Core

Jeanne R. Paratore and Dana A. Robertson

A Paperback Originale-bookprint + e-book
A Paperback Original
July 11, 2013
ISBN 9781462510429
Price: $27.00
142 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
July 11, 2013
Price: $27.00
142 Pages
print + e-book
A Paperback Original + e-Book (PDF) ?
Price: $54.00 $29.70
142 Pages

Featuring vivid examples and lesson plans, this book helps K-8 teachers reflect on and improve the ways talk is used in their classrooms. The authors explain the important role of skillful “teacher talk” in effective, motivating literacy instruction geared to the Common Core standards. Presented are clear-cut ways to help students set explicit goals for their learning; explain and model key strategies; and provide ongoing feedback. Over a dozen easy-to-implement lessons in vocabulary, comprehension, and writing are complete with how-to-do-it instructions, classroom vignettes, text suggestions, and reproducible worksheets. The large-size format facilitates photocopying. Purchasers also get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.

This title is part of the Teaching Practices That Work Series, edited by Diane Lapp and Douglas Fisher.

Talk That Teaches provides authentic lesson plans demonstrating how to integrate teacher talk into vocabulary, comprehension, and writing instruction using quality literature. The graphic organizers accompanying each lesson supply further tools to scaffold student learning as teachers work to implement the Common Core State Standards. Especially suited for undergraduate literacy methods courses, the book also has a place in graduate reading intervention courses.”

—Susan L. Massey, PhD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Western Illinois University

“This is one of the first books I have read that addresses the Common Core standards with direct strategies that make a difference in the classroom. Paratore and Robertson foster good teaching by giving the reader the rich experience of seeing what student engagement through talk looks like. The lessons are well organized, useful, and easy to build from. This is an excellent, inviting book for all teachers looking for ways to make the Common Core standards work skillfully and strategically in the classroom.”

—Barry Hoonan, MA, fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, Bainbridge Island, Washington

“The lesson plans in this book are systematically structured and provide scaffolded instruction. Illustrative examples embedded in each lesson allow the reader to step inside the classroom and experience 'talk that teaches' in action. This book will be a welcome addition to the professional libraries of primary and secondary teachers looking to support their students as critical thinkers.”

—Kristie Miner, MSEd, Literacy Coordinator, Whitney Point (New York) Central School District

Table of Contents

I. Vocabulary Instruction: Talking the Talk!

Lesson 1. Directly Teaching Word Meanings

Lesson 2. Inferring Word Meaning through Context

Lesson 3. Using Morphemes to Understand Word Meanings

II. Comprehension Instruction: Talking the Talk!

Lesson 4. Visualizing

Lesson 5. Making Inferences

Lesson 6. Determining What's Important

Lesson 7. Making Predictions

Lesson 8. Making Connections

Lesson 9. Summarizing

Lesson 10. Close Reading

III. Writing Instruction: Talking the Talk!

Lesson 11. Planning to Write an Argument

Lesson 12. Drafting a Research Report

Lesson 13. Writing to Learn

Appendix A. Lesson Template

Appendix B. Reflecting on Your Own Talk

Appendix C. Some Examples of Reflecting on Your Own Talk

Appendix D. Children's Literature That Supports Visualization

Appendix E. Children's Literature That Supports Making Inferences

About the Authors

Jeanne R. Paratore, EdD, is Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Reading Education and Literacy and Language Education Programs at Boston University. She is a former classroom teacher, reading specialist, and Title I director. Dr. Paratore is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame and a recipient of the New England Reading Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and the International Reading Association's Celebrate Literacy Award. She has conducted research and published widely on issues related to family literacy, classroom grouping practices, and interventions for struggling readers. She is also a coauthor of one of the nation's leading reading programs, Reading Street.

Dana A. Robertson, EdD, is Assistant Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at the University of Wyoming. He is a former classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach. Dr. Robertson was a featured teacher in the video series Teaching Reading, 3-5, produced by WGBH Television and the Annenberg Foundation. His research and publications focus on teacher talk, comprehension strategies instruction, and teacher professional development.


K–8 teachers, reading specialists, and coaches; staff developers; teacher educators and graduate students.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in elementary reading methods courses.