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Read, Talk, Write

35 Lessons That Teach Students to Analyze Fiction and Nonfiction

By: Laura J. Robb

In Read, Talk, Write, Laura Robb  brings her trademark practicality with 35 lessons and reproducibles that ensure your students succeed as well as love what they do. 
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781506339573
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Literacy
  • Year: 2016
  • Page Count: 272
  • Publication date: September 16, 2016

Price: $32.95

Price: $32.95
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“This book reminds us why Laura Robb continues to be such an important voice in our field: She looks through kids’ eyes and sees into their futures. Literary conversations don’t just enrich kids days; they offer young people gifts that keep on giving: the ability to take risks, exercise creativity, build empathy, and develop the ability to negotiate.”
—from the foreword by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels

When you get right down to it, literacy comes down to this: read, talk, write. But as every teacher knows, it can be hard for students to see and use these three moves in concert—until now. In Read, Talk, Write, Laura Robb lays out the classroom structures that create the time and space for students to have productive talk and written discourse about texts. With Laura’s guidance you’ll

  • Use short texts by Seymour Simon, Kathleen Krull, Priscilla Cummings, and other popular fiction and nonfiction authors to teach students how to analyze and converse about texts
  • Incorporate six kinds of talk into your instruction, including turn-and-talk, partner talks, and small-group discussions
  • Use the wealth of in-book and online reproducibles to help students facilitate their own comprehension-building discussions 
  • Select from 35 lessons that address literary elements and devices, text structures, and comprehension strategies, and then use them to launch student-led talk about any text you teach
  • Help your readers get in a read-talk-write flow, and know how to move from reading to talking to writing, to bring about deeper thinking
  • Achieve high levels of performance around inferring, comparing and contrasting, summarizing and synthesizing, and other key skills by way of classroom conversations that make these advanced levels the norm

Key features

35 lessons

40 reproducibles

6 fiction and nonfiction texts by top authors to use for teaching, including Kathleen Krull and Seymour Simon



Laura J. Robb photo

Laura J. Robb

An author, teacher, coach, and speaker, LAURA ROBB has spent the last four decades in middle school education. What teachers appreciate most about Laura is her deep commitment to children and adolescents, and her ability to show what best-practice instruction looks like day by day; a survey conducted by Instructor magazine named Laura as one of the nation’s top twenty educators. Currently, in addition to her speaking and consulting, she works part time in grades K-8. She was named NCTE’s recipient of the 2016 Richard W. Halle Award for Outstanding Middle Level Educator.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Aim 1. Introduce Students to Six Types of Comprehension-Building Conversations

Chapter 1. Talking About Texts: Getting Started

     Lessons and Texts to Take Students From Talk to Literary Conversation

     Five Benefits of Student-Centered Talk

     Benefit 1: Talk Supports Recall and Comprehension

     Benefit 2: Talk Engages and Motivates

     Benefit 3: Interactive Talk Becomes a Model for In-the-Head Conversations

     Benefit 4: Talk Activates Ideas for Writing About Reading

     Benefit 5: Talk Changes How Students Think and Feel About Fiction and Nonfiction

     The Research Support

     Coming Full Circle With Literature Circles

     Types of Talk and How They Fit Into the Lessons

     Initiating Talk With Questions and Prompts

     How to Craft Guiding Questions

     How to Teach Students to Compose Interpretive Questions

     Making Student Talk Productive

     How to Build Trust

     How to Help Students Initiate Discussion

     How to Teach Students to Listen Actively

     How to Use the Fishbowl Technique

     How to Use Smart Notebooks

     What’s Ahead

     Reflect on Your Teaching

Chapter 2. Lessons for Teaching Six Types of Talk

     How Literary Conversations Help Students

     Texts for Talk-Based Reading Lessons

     When to Use the Six Types

     Tips for Managing Literary Conversations

     Offer Prompts That Keep a Discussion Moving Forward

     Provide a Timeframe

     Reflect and Intervene

     Set a Signal for Closing a Discussion

     Lesson 2.1: Turn-and-Talk

     Lesson in Action: Turn-and-Talk

     Lesson 2.2: Whole-Class Discussions

     Lesson in Action: Whole-Class Discussions

     Lesson 2.3: Partner Talk

     Lesson in Action: Partner Talk

     Lesson 2.4: Small-Group Discussions

     Lesson in Action: Small-Group Discussions

     Lesson 2.5: In-the-Head Conversations

     Lesson in Action: In-the-Head Conversations

     Lesson 2.6: Teacher–Student Discussions

     Lesson in Action: Teacher–Student Discussions

Chapter 3. Lessons That Build Comprehension Skills in Any Genre

     Step 1: Mine Texts for Teaching Topics

     Step 2: Plan Lessons

     Step 3: Develop Effective Assessments

     Ten Top-Notch Short Texts and Lessons

     Getting-Ready Tips

     Lesson 3.1: Inferring With Informational Text

     Lesson 3.2: Exploring Interpretative Questions: Biography

     Lesson 3.3: Determining the Author’s Purpose: Informational Text

     Lesson 3.4: Why Characters Change: Small-Group Discussion Using a Short Story

     Lesson 3.5: Prompting In-the-Head Conversations: Biography

     Lesson 3.6: Teacher–Student Talk: Conferring

     Reproducible Fiction and Nonfiction Texts

     “Coming Clean” by Anina Robb

     “Defying Gravity: Mae Jemison” by Anina Robb

     “Hoops Tryouts” by Anina Robb

     “How Ada Lovelace Leaped Into History” by Kathleen Krull

     “How Athens Got Its Name” Retelling by Joanna Davis-Swing

     “Isaac Newton and the Day He Discovered the Rainbow” by Kathleen Krull

     “Making Scientists Into Climbers” (Excerpt From Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliffs) by Sandra Athans

     “New Horizons in Space” by Seymour Simon

     “Snow Day” by Priscilla Cummings

     “Who Climbs Everest?” (Excerpt From Tales From the Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest With Pete Athans) by Sandra Athans

Aim 2. Teach Students to Read, Talk, and Write About Fiction

Chapter 4. Taking the Plunge: How to Talk and Write About Fiction

     Exploring and Analyzing Fiction With Literary Elements

     Building Knowledge of Key Literary Techniques

     Some Key Literary Devices

     Encouraging Students to Discuss Literary Elements and Techniques

     Characteristics of Fictional Genres

     From Talk to Writing

     Brief Writing Tasks to Follow Talk

     Writing About Reading

     Model Lesson: The Importance of Inferring: “Snow Day” by Priscilla Cummings

     Reflect on Your Teaching

Chapter 5. Going Deeper: How to Analyze Literary Elements

     Offer Students Guided Practice

     Moving From Talking to Writing

     Literary Elements and Five Kinds of Conflict

     Bundling Literary Elements

     Teaching Tips for Literature-Based Lessons

     Lesson 5.1: Protagonist and Antagonists

     Model Lesson 5.1: Teaching Protagonist and Antagonists: “Hoops Tryouts” by Anina Robb

     Lesson 5.2: Conflict, Plot, and Setting

     Model Lesson 5.2: Teaching Conflict, Plot, and Setting: “Coming Clean” by Anina Robb

     Lesson 5.3: Identifying Themes

     Model Lesson 5.3: Teaching Theme: “Snow Day” by Priscilla Cummings

     Lesson 5.4: Planning and Writing a Summary: Fiction

     Model Lesson 5.4: Teaching Summary: Fiction: “Hoops Tryouts” by Anina Robb

     Lesson 5.5: Compare and Contrast Notes

     Model Lesson 5.5: Teaching Compare and Contrast Notes: “How Athens Got Its Name” Retelling by Joanna Davis-Swing

Aim 3. Teach Students to Read, Talk, and Write About Nonfiction

Chapter 6. Taking the Plunge: How to Talk and Write About Nonfiction

     Seven Tips for Inspiring Students to Have Literary Conversations About Nonfiction

     Teach Six Kinds of Context Clues

     Lesson 6.1: Mining Text Features for Information

     Identifying Text Structures to Build Understanding

     Lesson 6.2: Teaching Text Structures

     From Talk to Writing

     Understanding the Structure of Nonfiction Genres

     Reflect on Your Teaching

Chapter 7. Going Deeper: How to Analyze Nonfiction

     Teaching Tips for Text-Based Lessons

     Lesson 7.1: Taking Heading Notes and Finding a Main Idea

     Model Lesson 7.1: Taking Heading Notes and Finding a Main Idea: “Who Climbs Everest?” (Excerpt From Tales From the Top of the World) by Sandra Athans

     Lesson 7.2: Thinking About Issues: Obstacles

     Model Lesson 7.2: Teaching About Obstacles: “How Ada Lovelace Leaped Into History” by Kathleen Krull

     Lesson 7.3: Teaching the Problem-Solution Text Structure

     Model Lesson 7.3: Teaching Problem-Solution: “New Horizons in Space” by Seymour Simon

     Lesson 7.4: Personality Traits and a Person’s Achievements: Biography

     Model Lesson 7.4: Teaching Personality Traits: “Defying Gravity: Mae Jemison” by Anina Robb and “Isaac Newton and the Day He Discovered the Rainbow” by Kathleen Krull

     Lesson 7.5: Identifying Main Ideas

     Model Lesson 7.5a: Teaching Explicitly Stated Main Ideas: “Who Climbs Everest?” (Excerpt From Tales From the Top of the World) by Sandra Athans

     Model Lesson 7.5b: Teaching How to Infer Main Ideas: “Defying Gravity: Mae Jemison” by Anina Robb

Chapter 8. Reflecting on the Process of Read, Talk, Write

     Four Key Skills

     Skill 1: Taking Risks

     Skill 2: Creativity

     Skill 3: Empathy

     Skill 4: The Ability to Negotiate

     Writing Is Knowing

     Making the Changeover

     Take the First Steps

     Climb That First Hill

     Start Slowly Down the Hill

     Continue Moving Along the Path

     Picture Your Destination

     Make a Teaching Investment With Student Paybacks

     List of Top-Notch Books for Instruction and Class Libraries

Bibliography of Professional Materials