Facilitating meaningful discussion groups in the primary grades

Lindsey Moses, Meridith Ogden, Laura Beth Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This Teaching Tips describes a yearlong process of facilitating meaningful discussion groups about literature with first-grade students in an urban Title I school. At the beginning of the year, the teacher provided explicit instruction in speaking and listening skills to support students with the social skills needed for thoughtful discussion. She established whole-group discussions as a forum for sharing thinking and new knowledge, engaging in dialog about books, and recommending books to friends. Building on this foundation, the class moved to small-group discussions. The article details three different types of discussion groups: informational texts and sharing learning; Mo Willems author study and sharing responses to humor; and Jon Klassen author study and sharing inferences supported by textual evidence. This article shares how first grade students took up discussion opportunities to engage in critical thinking and dialog about books.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalReading Teacher
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Attitude
  • Author studies
  • Childhood
  • Depth of (higher level, literal level, etc.)
  • Discussion
  • Discussion strategies
  • Early childhood
  • Fiction
  • Formative experiments, design experiments
  • Informational text
  • Instructional strategies, teaching strategies
  • Literature-based instruction
  • Making inferences
  • Nonfiction
  • Questioning
  • Reading strategies
  • Retelling
  • Summarizing
  • Text types, text features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Pharmacology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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