Examining Longitudinal Change in Student Talk in Small-group Literature Discussions Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Hendrick, Brendan
    • Affiliation: School of Education, School Psychology Graduate Program
  • Talk in classrooms has long been considered an avenue for the support of high-level critical thinking and comprehension. Quality Talk is one approach to small-group talk about and around literature that has shown promise in this regard. My study investigated changes over time in student talk during the Quality Talk approach. Two fourth grade classrooms participated in approximately 38 weeks of Quality Talk. Students were separated into heterogeneous groups and participated in Quality Talk discussions bi-weekly. Discussions were videotaped and professionally transcribed for analysis. Each transcript was prepared and student talk variables were counted. The variables mean length of utterance, words spoken per minute, and number of turns taken per minute by each student were investigated using longitudinal multi-level analysis. Results showed that the mean length of utterance varied significantly over time, words per minute spoken did not change, and turns per minute had a linear, upward trajectory. Mean length of utterance, words per minute, and turns per minute differed by text type, with students speaking more about narrative texts. Student oral reading fluency (ORF) was positively related to initial status in mean length of utterance and words per minute. Gender was positively related to initial status in turns per minute. Group assignment was found to be associated with change over time in all three talk variables. Student talk relative to their group was investigated with descriptive statistics. It was hypothesized that students would speak more similar length of utterance over time, however, no clear pattern was apparent. These results add to the evidence around how talk outcomes in Quality Talk small-group literature discussions are related to student characteristics, text characteristics, and group assignment.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Murphy, P. Karen
  • Greene, Jeffrey
  • Knotek, Steven
  • Simeonsson, Rune
  • Evarrs, Sandra
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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