Preparing for a Discussion: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Evans

Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.

It can be amazing fun to talk - and even argue - about text. Preparing for a discussion is a necessary step in being an active participant in your own learning, and this lesson will get you ready to do just that.

Step 1: Know Your Material

A discussion is often centered around some type of text. It might be a fiction or nonfiction book, magazine article, poem, or other text. The first thing you should do to prepare for a discussion is to make sure you have thoroughly, or completely and carefully, read the material.

In order to be thorough, it's a good idea to read the text more than once. Read the first time to get the general idea, then read a second time to really dig in and pay special attention to any events or ideas that stand out. And when you notice something interesting, bookmark it!

Step 2: Bookmark Interesting Parts

Bookmarking interesting parts in the text can mean using an actual bookmark, a highlighter, or sticky notes to make those parts easier to find again. This helps jog your memory and helps you locate your evidence during a discussion. Part of preparing for a discussion is making sure you are ready to go back to certain parts of the text to support your comments.

Having evidence, or specific words or ideas directly from the text, helps make your comments stronger during a discussion. For instance, you can explain your thinking about a character by opening to a specific page and pointing out something that character did or said. And even more fun, if someone else makes a point about the text that you disagree with, you can use the author's words to back up your point of view. You should always be respectful of other people's ideas and opinions, but it can be exciting to respectfully disagree.

Step 3: Journal Your Thoughts

The third step in preparing for a discussion is to journal your thoughts about the topic or text. Just like athletes warm up their muscles before a game, participants in a discussion can warm up their minds! Journaling before a discussion gets you ready to be an active participant or leader. Here are some ideas about ways to journal:

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