Let’s Have a Close Talk FREEBIES (Chapter 7!)


Hi Everyone! I’m here to discuss Chapter 7 of Close Reading in Elementary School with you all. I missed out on Chapter 6’s discussion. If you did too, you can go read it over at Tara’s blog here. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this chapter because it focuses on my FAVORITE part of teaching: SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS! Let’s dive in, shall

we? If you’re just joining this book study, grab the book below:


Like I mentioned before, my absolute FAVORITE part of teaching is small group time. I treasure the uninterrupted time with my students and LOVE hearing them discuss a text with one another. I especially love small group time because it allows me to step back and gives all my students (the shy AND the outgoing ones) a time to SHINE. Last year, my friend Tracy and I would share the highlights of our day and often times it was about a thought-provoking discussion that took place in small group time. We didn’t know it at the time, but what were leading was called a close talk. Chapter 7 provides us with all kinds of insight on what a close talk is AND what it should look like your classroom. I highlighted many of the important components of this chapter below. Slide1 A close talk is a DEEP DISCUSSION about a text. In order to have a deep discussion, the teacher needs to do a little work ahead of time. First and foremost, you MUST read the text before presenting it to your students. This allows you to generate thought-provoking questions. I admit it. I’m guilty of putting a text in front of my students that I didn’t dissect enough prior to our small group meeting. I’m sure you can imagine how that lesson went. If you can’t, here you go: Me: …………………………..………………………………… Students: ……………………………………………………… Me: ……………………………………………………………… Students: ………………………………………………………. Me: Wow! What a wonderful small group discussion today. You all can go back to your Daily 5 rotations now. Okay, it was never THAT bad but you get the point. If we don’t come prepared for small group time, how can we expect our students to come prepared? Here are some tips and procedures that the authors give on how to have a successful close talk in your classroom: Slide2 Slide3 Prior to having a close talk in your classroom, be sure to go over the following rules with your kiddos. The following posters hung near our small group table last year. My students referred to them all throughout our close talks. We would often review the Learn to Listen poster. I think it’s necessary to emphasize that while it’s very important to share our thinking, it’s equally as important to listen to the ideas of others. You can grab the posters HERE. image Chapter 7 addresses five close talk guidelines. These guidelines are more general than the ones above, but they are great reminders! I suggest adding these to your small group area. Slide5

My FAVORITE part of this chapter was the section on the importance of encouraging our students to be active participants. The authors provided us with a rubric to use in our classrooms. I thought that some of the language they used was a little too advanced for first graders, so I made it more kid-friendly. The authors suggest going over this rubric before having a close talk. I would suggest hanging this in your small group area, as well. The goal is to be a “Four Star Participant.”

Slide9 I made this little participation data chart for you, as well. I suggest tracking each student’s participation on this chart. This will come in handy when report card time comes around!


You can grab all of these freebies in my shop. Click HERE to go download. Happy Sunday, my dear friends!

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Alley Chai July 20, 2014, 10:55 pm

    Hey Lyndsey,

    I am a fourth grade teacher and I have been reading "Close Reading in Elementary School" along with you. I love of all of your ideas and posts and I loved this book as well. I am wondering how you think you would apply close reading and close talks in a fourth grade classroom.



  • Jennifer Raspallo July 21, 2014, 2:30 am

    I am just loving this book study! I used your Let’s Take a Closer Look packet with my first graders. I saw huge improvements in my students. I am looping to second grade. Can you recommend another close reading I could use with my students?
    Thank you!

  • Nicole from Teaching With Style July 21, 2014, 10:02 pm

    I am SO guilty of not reading texts ahead of time and just diving in with the kids. This post has inspired me to be better about it this year! Thanks for the freebies! 🙂

  • Brandi Shepard July 25, 2014, 11:26 pm

    I am a HIGH SCHOOL teacher and love this!I'm going to post the participation chart in my English classroom

  • Elein Lacy May 21, 2017, 5:34 am

    Wow I actually these books for a course that covered only some of the topics here. Wish I saw this beforehand. Thanks for this!

  • Beverley KnightDavis June 20, 2019, 8:08 am

    Thank you for producing such fantastic resources and strategies to support teachers and SENCOs to help support high quality learning for pupils, and especially pupils with SEND and medical conditions.
    Beverley Knight-D