More and more, research tells us that talking about what we read is vitally important for deeper levels of understanding. Just like adults enjoy talking about good books we've read, it is wise for us to allow our students to discuss what they've read with a partner. This allows them to synthesize new information and to learn from a partner with a similar or differing viewpoint.
Lucy Calkins, in her book, The Art of Teaching Reading, recommends the following "talk curriculum."
Students talk about the texts we read aloud.
Students' talk is scaffolded by us, as teachers.
Students talk about the texts they've just heard or read in school.
The thinking happens primarily through talk.
Reading is interspersed with talk (often after every few pages.)
The talk continuously roams among many assorted points.
Later: (Notice the gradual release of responsibility.)
Students talk about the texts they read independently.
Students' talk is student-led.
Students talk about the texts they read at home.
The thinking and idea-building happens through talking and writing.
The talk comes after a larger chunk of reading or at the end of the text.
(This means readers do more synthesizing and summarizing.)
The talk eventually lingers over, probes, and develops an extended idea or two.