Recommended by the Ontario Ministry of Education

Grades K-6

Imagine this: First graders analyzing texts, critiquing ideas, debating points, and making connections. Third graders sharing analogies between slaves’ lives in the 1800s and their own. Fifth graders synthesizing elements of foreshadowing before the term is even mentioned. This is what literature conversations are all about. And this is what Ardith Cole writes about in this book, a comprehensive, inspiring guide to the art and practice of literature conversations. Cole is committed to literature conversations because she has watched them change lives and perspectives, build confidence and compassion, and produce dramatic consequences, both in and out of the classroom. That’s why she wants teachers to understand the importance of teaching children how to talk about their reading.

In Knee to Knee, Eye to Eye, Cole addresses text, organization, management, assessment, and the tremendous amount of learning that occurs through the powerful, engaging combination of books and talk. Most important, she offers a step-by-step guided comprehension process in which teachers have students: observe, analyze, and investigate the workings of a real conversation "wonder" with a partner after a read-aloud refine content and behaviors in one large literature conversation use the process in a small group without the teacher’s presence read independently for conversation grist that will later drive interactions and assessments.

Because dialogue is critical to this process, the book features plentiful examples to demonstrate the higher levels of thinking and rich discussions that occur as students move into constructing their own knowledge. An appendix includes textual resources to use during read-aloud modeling lessons and sample conversation transcriptions that are handy examples for instruction and assessment. Create a conversation community in your classroom. Invite your students into this culture of focused talk. Build relationships between and among students. And watch as they develop deep, reflective conversations as reading becomes an adventure in learning