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"Questioning the Author" is a particular style of classroom discussion that tries to get young students (fourth and fifth graders) to actively grapple with the ideas they read about in class. It may be distinguished from other reading strategies by the following approaches: (1) it addresses a text as the product of a fallible author; (2) it takes place in the context of an initial reading rather than after that reading is finished; (3) it deals with a text through general probes for meaning directed toward making sense of ideas in the text; (4) it encourages collaboration in the construction of meaning. Observations were conducted in four classrooms in which "Questioning the Author" had been implemented. Student and teacher responses were charted according to the extent to which they attempted to construct meaning (as opposed to repeating information). Results were compared with observations in baseline classrooms; they showed that while in baseline classrooms most student comments were verbatim repetitions of the text, nearly half of the comments in the "Questioning the Author" classrooms were directed toward the construction of meaning. Further, teachers in the "Questioning the Author" classrooms were closely tailoring their rejoinders to individual student comments. They were working a lot harder than teachers in the baseline classrooms because their comments were designed to move discussion forward. Contains two references. (TB)

Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Classroom Research, Comparative Analysis, Discourse Communities, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Elementary Education, Instructional Innovation, Reader Response, Reading Aloud to Others, Reading Instruction, Reading Strategies

Autor: McKeown, Margaret; And Others


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