Academic Conversations includes a set of conversational concepts that can be modeled and practiced to help all students engage in extended meaningful conversation about narrative or informational texts (Zweirs, 2011). The skills include the following:
Initiating a worthwhile topic
Elaborating and clarifying
Supporting one's ideas and turn taking
Building on or challenging another's ideas
Applying ideas to life
Oral Discourse Strategies Manual
Deepening Discourse and Thought Manual
Discourse and Thought Chart
Those Shoes book
My Fantastic Words
Academic conversations are important oral language uses to develop the deep comprehension task of interpretation of the content of a story. This “group interpretation” and discussion results in content needed for ultimately writing about the character’s challenge/trouble or problem, and then, how the character ultimately deals with it and moves on in life.
This is a multifaceted language processing task which requires students to respond in an expository way: state a claim, elaborate, clarify, support own and add to others’ ideas, challenge perspectives, paraphrase (“I think you mean...”) and summarize.
The Discourse and Thought Development Chartshows how to deepen knowledge through narrative and expository discourse with use of Bloom’s Taxonomy and/or Webb’s Depth of Knowledge for questioning and discussion.
Oral Discourse Strategies breaks down the components of building academic conversations: predicting, clarifying, questioning, summarizing and connecting – for students who need explicit teaching.
My Fantastic Words provides a visual thesaurus for vocabulary building.
Deepening Discourse and Thought is road map for using Story Grammar Marker® with a selection of quality children’s literature for in-depth analysis which is necessary for building the narrative and expository language competency necessary for academic conversations.