Tell Me with The Reading Environment

Tell Me offers practical information underpinned by clearly explained theory about book-talking in the classroom, explaining some of the processes and outlining the ground rules developed by experienced practitioners. A Framework has been formulated, 'a repertoire of questions that assist readers in speaking about their reading'.

With any group of readers we find that if they begin by sharing their most obvious observations they soon accumulate a body of understanding that reveals the heart of the text and its meaning(s) for them all. Even when quite complicated or abstract ideas are approached in this way (through story images and talked-out interpretations) there is little that even young children cannot grasp. In this activity there is a balance to be found between respect for the rights of the individual as a reader and a talker and the corporately composed reading of the group - the community text which is always more complex and insightful than one individual reading can ever be.

But to be most effective 'Tell Me' booktalk must be supported by the environment in which it is practised. This is explained in the first part of the book:

The Reading Environment describes, with many practical examples, the surroundings and attitudes that support pupils' encounters with books in school, enabling them to become thoughtful, willing readers, who enjoy reading.

The chapters include:
1 Introduction
2 The Reading Circle:
Selection, 'reading', time, place
response, the enabling adult
3 The Set and the Setting
4 Reading Areas
5 Displays
6 Browsing
7 Reading Time
How often, how long; USSR
8 Keeping Track
9 Storytelling:
Where it begins;
choosing and preparing stories
10 Reading Aloud:
Learning how it goes, the drama of print,
'difficulty', stimulating choice, being together,
the difference from storytelling, taking time
11 Reading and the Brain
12 Star Performers:
Choosing the guest, making the approach,
on the day, making the most of a visit
13 Friends & Peers:
Graffiti boards, magazines & blogs
selection panels, displays, reading clubs
pupil organisers
14 Helping to Choose:
By-the-way conversation, 'try these',
booklists, mix and match, raising expectations
15 Response:
For the author', works of art, anthologies
acting it out, book making
16 Books in a Digital Age
17 The Enabling Adult
Originally published as separate editions in 1991 and 1993, Tell Me & The Reading Environment are among the most widely read and successful, practically-based books available about literary education. They have been translated into nine languages with editions specially adapted for the USA, published by Stenhouse Publishers. For this combined edition the text has been updated, revised, and redesigned.
Tell Me with The Reading Environment
Thimble Press, 2011
The separate American editions are available from
Stenhouse Publishers in USA,,
And in Canada from Pembroke,

All contents are ©Aidan Chambers unless otherwise stated.





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