This post is part of our ongoing series called Power Language for Conferring. To learn more about the series and find a quick link to previous posts, please visit our Power Language page on this site.
Today’s power language for conferring: Who else needs to know about this…?
When do we use language like this? One of our favorite times to use this question is when a reader is on fire about a book- when the excitement and energy around a book is just palpable! Whether it’s an emergent reader who can’t wait to reread Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s First the Egg one more time, a transitional reader who has just discovered Annie Barrows’ Ivy and Bean, or a fluent reader who just devoured his first of Erin Hunter’s Warriors books in record time and can’t wait to move onto the next, this is the time to consider posing this question.
Whenever readers have found books they love, one of the ways we encourage them to respond is by thinking about the other readers they know, and considering which of them might benefit from knowing more about this book. In this way, we are teaching kids that reading is a social act; readers think about other readers and seek recommendations from them.
“Who else needs to know about this . . .” can also be used affirm strategies students are already using, inviting them to offer their learning to peers through partner conversations or student-led small groups. By doing so, we again encourage readers to share their reading lives with others in meaningful ways.
Whether it’s when a student is reading a book that just has to be shared, or with using a strategy that other kids might benefit from, the connections built by asking this question can truly help transform a classroom of students into a community of readers.
What makes this language so powerful? The thing that makes this question so powerful is the way it nudges students to consider other readers in order to generously share a discovery with them. When we make space for reader-to-reader recommendations in the classroom, we teach the value of knowing each other well and supporting each other’s reading lives.
To have another human being say, “I thought of you . . .” cultivates a sincere sense of connection. It tells us we’re remembered and cared about. Let’s face it, the recommendations students exchange with each other carry a special weight of their own, one an adult recommendations can never compete with. Who else needs to know about this… ? sets the wheels in motion for a whole community to become more self-sustaining in the search for a steady stream of great books.
Outside of school, giving book recommendations to others is one of the most authentic and natural responses that reader can have to books they’ve read. Think about what you typically do while you’re reading or when you’ve finished a book you just can’t put down? More often than not, you probably seek out another reader to share a connection. Therefore, we use this question as a seed that we hope grows into a lifelong habit of spreading the good news about the books we’re reading.
What are some variations of this question?
- Who else needs to know about this book (author, genre, basket, series)? How could you let them know?
- What kind of a reader do you think would want to know about a book like this?
- Who else needs to know about this strategy you’ve discovered?
We want to hear from you! We hope you’ll join our conversation about power language for conferring. We’d love to know your thoughts about this question. Have you tried it? What happened? What other questions do you rely on to get the conference started? We want to hear from you.
You can add a comment below, send us a tweet (@Kari_Yates and @ChristinaNosek ), or jump over to our new Facebook group (To Know and Nurture a Reader), and join the conversation there. Thank you for joining us on this joyful quest to know and nurture every learner through conferring.
To learn more about the art and the science of this little conversation called a conference, check out our new book, To Know and Nurture a Reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy from Stenhouse Publishing.
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