The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 9

freedom to choose what books were read andhow to conduct Accountable Talk. My second graders no longer felt that they were just there to learn from me:they were there to learn from each other as they thought and talked about books (Moon, 2009).

Student Achievement Occurs with Accountable Talk

After working on the key factors with Accountable Talk, I found evidence of successful academic learning with my students by using a teacher-created rubric (Appendix B).

Some of my readers struggled with fluency, comprehension, or both. Nothing hurts a teacher more than seeing children embarrassed to read. They have a tendency to stay to the back of the group; they keep their heads down and rarely make eye contact with the teacher. Using Accountable Talk with read alouds, it seemed that by starting off in small groups, and gradually growing in size, these struggling readers were no longer embarrassed about their weak literacy skills. They began showing an interest and even answering some questions. The strongest evidence was the support given to my struggling students by their classmates. For example, if struggling readers came to a difficult word, I observed classmates giving the struggling readers time to decode the word by saying: “Sound it out.” “Put the two beginning letters together to blend.” Other pupils simply wanted to help that individual student become a better reader. The class as a whole became more helpful to each other.

After several weeks of implementing Accountable Talk in my class on a regular basis, I did periodic assessments for progress monitoring. The results showed that all the children in the class improved in their fluency rates and in their comprehension skills. Although the improvements were small, the students were still on the right track. They also got better with asking and answering a variety of questions


Cotton, K. (1997). Teaching thinking skills. School Improvement Research Series

On-line]. Available:

Hollenbeck, K. M. (2006). Fluency practice read-aloud plays (Grades 1-2). New York:


Lane, H. B., & Wright, T. L. (2007, April). Maximizing the effectiveness of reading

aloud. The Reading Teacher, 60(7), 668-675.

LeSchack, A. (2003). Accountable Talk Workshop. Retrieved from Teachers Network


Michaels, S., O’Connor, M.C., Sohmer, R., & Resnick, L. (2002). Guided construction

of knowledge in the classroom: Teacher, talk, task, and tools. Retrieved from website:

Moon, M. (2009). Read aloud with accountable talk – Thinking and talking deeply about books. Retrieved from website:

Taberski, S. (2000). On solid ground : Strategies for teaching reading K-3. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

A former classroom teacher and reading specialist, Charline Barnes Rowland is currently a college professor at West Virginia University. Alyssa Kessler is an elementary classroom teacher in New York City public schools.


"My second graders no longer felt that they were just there to learn from me: they were there to learn from each other as they thought and talked about books" (Moon, 2009).