This book focuses on how parents and other caregivers can have richer and more fruitful conversations with their children. Parents will be able to use the ideas in this book to improve conversations with their children in ways that help them (a) more effectively learn in school, (b) develop stronger and more lasting relationships in and out of school, and (c) increase their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
Some children are more prepared for school than others. Much of this preparation comes from the types of conversations that children have and listen to at home. Many children need more practice in developing and using key conversation skills that are expected in school and life. They need more practice co-constructing ideas with other people, face to face, and they need more practice engaging in respectful collaboration and argumentation. This book helps parents to provide such practice.
Jeff Zwiers, EdD, is a senior researcher at Stanford University. His research, work, and publications focus on improving the quality and quantity of peer-to-peer conversations to help students learn and grow.
Chapter 1: Conversing to Cultivate your Child’s Mind & Heart
Chapter 2: Developing Conversation Habits, Skills, and Mindsets
Chapter 3: Conversations about Stories
Chapter 4: Conversations about History
Chapter 5: Conversations about Science
Chapter 6: Conversations about Math
Chapter 7: Conversations that Grow the Heart
About the Author
This accessible manual emphasizes the crucial importance of these interchanges and offers strategies for making each conversation count. Author Zwiers, an education professor and researcher at Stanford, notes that talking builds social, intellectual, problem-solving, and emotional skills. He emphasizes that using specific prompts can encourage children to hone their reasoning skills, increase feelings of empathy, and yield deeper, more thoughtful responses. He offers numerous sample conversations that demonstrate how to put his advice into action, and devotes specific chapters to talking about stories, history, science, math, and "conversations that grow the heart." He includes helpful charts and graphic organizers in which families can record their conversations as they work their way through lengthy discussions or weigh the pros and cons of a situation. [P]arents looking for guidance on how to have better, longer, and more meaningful conversations with their kids will appreciate the straightforward advice.
Parents know it’s important to talk to our kids, but we don’t always know how to do this in ways that build the skills and mindsets needed for success in school and life. Jeff Zwiers shows us how everyday conversations with our children can cultivate their ability to interpret stories, clarify their thinking, elaborate on their ideas, paraphrase the words of others, and understand the world around them. This book is full of clear, well-grounded advice and practical strategies.
The Power of Parent-Child Conversations is a must-read for families who want to cultivate and reenergize their child’s love of learning. Jeff’s book shows how you can become actively involved with your child’s academic learning process at home. As a parent, what I love about this book is that he makes the “academic part” of conversation feel natural. As an educator, I love that he offers concrete examples and personalized ways to have deep and meaningful conversations that inspire learning. Practicing these conversations together will transfer to the school setting and rekindle the love of learning at home too.
Zwiers brings his depth of knowledge about developing and enhancing language skills to the center of all learning--the home. The Power of Parent-Child Conversations provides simple yet effective ways to layer in more specific conversation skills in the central relationship between parent or caregiver and child. Through an equitable lens for multilingual households and all households, Zwiers shares tangible strategies to enhance family conversations and to help develop empathetic, critical thinkers and clear communicators. Children will benefit from their parents and caregivers trying out strategies in this guide, not with the goal of replacing what's there already, but to add to the parenting toolkit for relating more intentionally with their child or children. As a PK-12 language specialist, a family literacy advocate and a caregiver myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the methods provided in this book and I will be recommending it to family programs and educators I support.