The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 7


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Accountable Talk During Read Alouds

Helping Urban Children Take Charge of their Literacy Learning

During Read Alouds

Helping Urban Children Take Charge of their Literacy Learning

Charline Rowland

Alyssa Kessler

"Linguistically, they were all fluent in English and loved to talk."

located in Queens, New York, my school received Title 1 funding due to the fact that 83% of the students were eligible for free lunch and the school ranked in the bottom quartile for academic performance in its district. The ethnicity backgrounds of the student population, during that school year, were: African American (73.1%); Hispanic (18.4%); Asian (4.9%) and Caucasian/White (3.6%). Linguistically, they were all fluent in English and loved to talk.

Using Accountable Talk allowed my students to make talking a part of learning. I chose to implement Accountable Talk into my read alouds. Instead of the teacher reading a story to the class and starting the discussion, why not give the students the opportunity to lead their own discussions? I created a plan, using several key factors, in order to make Accountable Talk successful in my classroom.

Key Factor 1: Create rules to follow when doing Accountable Talk.

To ensure proper classroom management and equitable participation, the students and I created a list of rules to follow when doing this method.

● It is important that students to talk at an appropriate volume. No matter how excited they get or how much they disagree with an answer, they must keep their voices down.

● It is also important that only one person talks at a time. Everyone wants to share their ideas; however, they must be patient and wait until the student speaking is finished.

● It is important to provide evidence that confirm their beliefs. For example, if a student is required to make a prediction from a story, the student must find evidence from the text to support why he thinks this will happen. In addition, if a student agrees with another child’s answer, they should be able to expand on their thoughts by contributing their own input.

● Finally, it is important to be polite and respect the other child’s thoughts even if one disagrees with the thoughts. Students must learn that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it is not the same as ours.

Key Factor 2: Establish a learning environment in a special space.

I thought about an environment where Accountable Talk can be most successful, and I came up with several ideas. First, I wanted the children to be able to see each other

Charline Rowland

Alyssa Kessler