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Journal > The Reading Teacher

Conversation: The Comprehension Connection

by Ann Ketch

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Conversation: The Comprehension Connection

Grades 3 – 8
Type Journal
Published September 2005
Publisher International Literacy Association



In their daily lives, students often experience directives rather than real conversations. Conversation provides opportunities for students to practice and use cognitive strategies, and is critical for developing comprehension. Conversation is authentic, and becomes evidence for teachers to determine strategies used and internalized. As students engage in social inquiry with peers, they try out their thinking. Social inquiry promotes metacognition and reflection. Conversation becomes the vehicle through which students practice and solidify thinking.

This article presents three examples of student conversation, demonstrating how they deepened student thinking. The teacher could have easily given answers to the students, but instead they constructed their own meaning, and will be able to construct it independently in the future. Teachers who encourage conversation allow students to internalize cognitive strategies, construct meaning, feel ownership of the learning process, collaborate, communicate, gain empathy for other viewpoints, explore and expand their developing thinking, and engage in the curriculum.

Ketch, A. (2005, September). Conversation: The Comprehension Connection. The Reading Teacher, 59(1), 813. doi: 10.1598/RT.59.1.2


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