Quality Talk Language Arts

Quality Talk Language Arts (QTLA) applies the Quality Talk  model of discussion to 4th and 5th grade language arts classes. QTLA includes accompanying instructional materials emphasizing critical-analytic thinking and epistemic cognition resulting in students’ increased high-level comprehension of text.

Why use Quality Talk Language Arts?

Quality Talk aligns with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):

CCSS Informational Text 8.

Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

CCSS Writing 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d.

Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

CCSS Speaking/Listening 1, 4.

Engage effectively in collaborative discussions… on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Promising results:

In a pilot study, students participating in Quality Talk had significantly higher scores on individual high-level comprehension assessments. Transfer effects were also seen via improved persuasive and expository writing,  and increased argument generation in social studies and science classes.

Our preliminary results from this year show significant fluency gains from fall to winter, with rates of improvement greater than the national average.

How does Quality Talk Language Arts work?

Step 1: We provide initial professional development on the QT model, teacher pedagogical content knowledge, and assessments.

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Step 2: Teachers present QTLA mini-lessons to their students.


Step 3: Teachers conduct QT discussions about teacher-selected texts in their classrooms.


Step 4: Teachers meet frequently with QT discourse coaches for ongoing professional development and support.


 What do students learn?

Step 1: We provide initial professional development on the QT model, teacher pedagogical content knowledge, and assessments.

1) How to ask questions that generate engaging discussions and stimulate high-level thinking.

2) How to enhance their responses to questions by elaborating on their explanations.

3) How to develop strong arguments by producing reasons and evidence to support their claims.



The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A130031 to Pennsylvania State University. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

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