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Abstract

In today's classrooms, the teacher’s text selection for read-alouds directly impacts students’ opportunities to systematically participate in higher order thinking about texts. This ethnographic study examined the discursive processes and practices over time of elementary students (and their teacher) before, during, and after teacher-led read-aloud discussions of literary texts in an after-school philosophy club. The study investigated the student opportunities for talking, thinking, and understanding provided by discussing the controversial topics of the texts. The analyses illustrate the consequences to student thinking and meaning-making when controversial texts are used in read-alouds as a springboard for discussion, as well as the implications of those outcomes for elementary literacy teachers.

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