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Enhancing Students' Comprehension and Critical-Analytic Thinking Through Quality Talk Discussions Public

Students often struggle to comprehend complex text. In response, we conducted a year-long study of Quality Talk (QT), a teacher-facilitated, small-group discussion approach designed to enhance students’ high-level comprehension, in two fourth-grade classrooms. Specifically, teachers delivered instructional mini-lessons on discourse elements (e.g., questioning or argumentation) and conducted weekly text-based discussions in their language arts classes. Analysis of the videorecorded discussions showed decreases in teacher-initiated discourse elements indicating a release of responsibility to students, while students’ discourse reflected increased critical-analytic thinking and epistemic cognition (e.g., elaborated explanations or exploratory talk). Importantly, statistically and practically significant increases were evidenced on measures of students’ text comprehension and transfer to written argumentation, providing support for the efficacy of QT.

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