In a previous post I was thinking out loud about the need for time in our reading work, and just how much we might need. This past week I've pushed the envelope a bit on how long we can stay with a book talk topic and the results have been equally exciting and discouraging. Exciting because after continuing to ask follow up questions for ten minutes on a "big idea" topic from our read-aloud book we got to some great connections and students were beginning to expand their ideas and really build on the thoughts others were sharing. Discouraging because I wonder if I can do this every day. For one thing, the schedule in any elementary school is packed with lots of great activities and so we may need to leave to go Science Lab, or the library or Art or Music etc. I also wonder if we'd be able to have such in depth conversations every day, or even if we need to do that. Another question/observation is that in elementary schools we ask kids to pay attention pretty much all day long either to lecture type instruction, to reading, to each other in sharing and so forth, do we over-load children with "paying attention?" I wonder how many people in their work day are as focused as the average student all day long? I know for myself, that only when I worked in radio with a major network, producing college football games did I experience the kind of extended attentive, focused work that goes on in schools every day.
So my first questions about how much time is needed for quality book talks seems to be answered with "A lot". How often will that be possible and how much should we attempt in a day or week is part of the on-going process of discovery.