Talk Read Talk Write

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
mapped out by Lori

You need this book in your life!
My Curly friends know enough about me to know that I'm a professional development junkie. But I don't just like any ol' PD. I like the sessions that are taught by real teachers offering real strategies that really work for real kids.

Nancy Motley, the author of Talk Read Talk Write came and spoke to our district and I was immediately hooked. Here's why:

1) She is a mom, and she tells real stories about her kids. Not just the Pinterest stuff. 
2) She is a teacher, and she tells real stories about her kids. Not just the Pinterest stuff. 

Her Talk Read Talk Write strategy is what good lessons are made of. TRTW allows teachers to set an objective for students, prepare an end goal, and make smart decisions about how to get kids to talk, read, and write in order to learn. Here's how you plan for a TRTW lesson. 

As always, start with the skill that you want kids to learn. Then, follow steps 1-4.

1) WRITE--What do you want your kids to do at the end of the lesson? These are just some suggestions to get you thinking. There are lots of other ideas in the actual book, and you'll be amazed at what your team can come up with in planning. 
  • Explain how ___ impacts ____.
  • Determine whether ____ or ____.
  • If ____ happened, what might be a result? 
2) READ--What text will your students read in order to learn? 
  • Create a PAT list (Pay Attention To) to guide students as they read. 
  • Consider making copies of your PAT list on small slips of paper so that students don't have to split their attention between the text on their desk and the screen at the front of the room. 
3) TALK 2--What will you have them talk about to bridge the gap after they read and before they write? 
  • Ask students to talk about which part of the article best shows [something from the PAT list].
  • Have them talk about a portion of the writing task. They won't know yet what the writing task is, so you're getting them comfortable with the ideas they're preparing to write about. 
4) TALK 1--Open your class with a polarizing or thought-provoking question.  
  • Respond to an image, a quote, a song.
  • Respond to a "would you rather" dilemma.
That template and that order is just for planning purposes. Now that you have your plan, use the TRTW order for sequencing. 

This lesson format is incredibly versatile. I taught with it a few days ago, and was able to teach with one article using two rounds of TRTW. At the end of the lesson, 7th grade students had written important facts that would be necessary for a summary. 

Next week, my 8th grade team will use it with a Newsela article. My 7th grade reading team is going to use it to compare the ideas in an infographic to that of a persuasive text. 

The possibilities are endless! Start'll never look back! 


  1. Wow! What a delight to see this in my email. I just went to TRTW training last week presented by my district and presented it TODAY to my PLC. I love, love, love it. Exciting! :)

  2. Where can I find this book? I have looked everywhere online and there are no copies for sale. This is my first year teaching World History and I would really like to read this book to help with my planning. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. The book is hard to find online, but I believe this link will allow you to buy it from the publisher:
      We're glad you like the Talk Read Talk Write approach and would love to hear how you adapt it for your classroom!

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