Early last academic year I read ‘Tell Me’ by Aidan Chambers. My short summary of the book would perhaps do it a disservice, but the basic premise is to do with the skill of questioning that “anticipates conversational dialogue” as opposed to the often threatening ‘why’. Chambers proposes the ‘tell me’ prefix along with a few specific questions to stimulate book talk. I’ve used Chambers’ book a the inspiration for my classroom reading area and display.
I have printed some of Chambers’ questions and intend to encourage children to use them when responding to what they’ve read, particularly in their reading records, which they are expected to complete daily. The question prompts will also be used to get children to contribute to another part of the display, the twitter feed about the class text that we’ll be reading.
I’ll use the twitter feed to record children’s thoughts on key events as the novel unfolds.
Chambers’ book talk principle have led to great improvements in reading comprehension in my class. KS2 SATs are not the best measure of impact but 53% level 5 readers in a deprived area is down in part to the approaches outlined in Chambers’ book.
Hopefully we can continue to develop the teaching of reading comprehension, with this book area / display playing an important part.