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ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides. We pursue our vision of educational equality in America by helping schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

Enhance teaching with text talks

In this video, a principal explains how text talks have been a helpful professional learning tool for teachers. Here's a protocol to engage in a text talk at your school.

Enhance teaching with text talks

 Engaging in text talks

Have you ever told a friend about something you read and realized that by doing so, your own understanding of the text was deepened? You may have found yourself analyzing and synthesizing more than you otherwise would have in order to convey the most important ideas. And if your friend has read that book or article, too, they probably shared different thoughts that enhanced your appreciation.

This process of reading and discussing texts forms the basis for much of our students’ literacy instruction these days, but it’s just as critical for teachers to engage in this process. When teachers work together to deepen their own understanding of a text, they can plan better questions and facilitate a more productive discussion.

In this video, Matthew Portell, a principal from Fall Hamilton Elementary in Nashville, TN, explains how text talks have been a helpful professional learning tool for teachers. “When teachers dig deeply into a text, their understanding is stronger. Their understanding of the rigor and complexity is stronger. Their understanding of the standards is stronger, which makes them understand how to support kids in being successful.”

Use this protocol to engage in a text talk with your peers during a planning meeting, data meeting, or as part of an assessment preview. To save time, consider reading the text ahead of time so you can spend the bulk of your time discussing the text with your colleagues. And if you’re wondering what a text talk actually looks and sounds like, watch this video of the second grade team from Fall Hamilton Elementary.