Frameworks for talk

These frameworks can be used across all levels.

The three sharings

The three sharings (Aidan Chambers, 1994) is a framework that can be used to help students explore texts. It can also be used to reflect on experiences and other learning.

  • sharing enthusiasms – what the reader/viewer likes or does not like
  • sharing puzzles – what was difficult to understand? What presented a challenge?
  • sharing connections – how does this relate to what I know? What connections can I make to my life, the life of others, the world or other texts?

See literature circles using Chambers’ three sharings.

Four kinds of sayings

The four kinds of saying (Aidan Chambers, 1994) is a framework based on communal talk which considers an individual’s own thoughts but then also takes into account what others think on the same topic. Together thoughts are shared and new understandings are co constructed. The framework follows these steps:

  1. Saying for yourself (your initial response)
  2. Saying to others (sharing with a partner and listening to his/her response)
  3. Saying together (developing a joint understanding)
  4. Saying the new (stating a new perspective)

   The Tunnel by Anthony Browne
© 1989 Anthony Browne Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Australia Pty Ltd

For example, after reading a picture story book such as The Tunnel by Anthony Browne, students reflect on the meaning and form small groups to discuss their response to the text.

  1. Saying for yourself: Students first think to themselves about the author’s purpose and the overarching theme of the text; and then say out loud to themselves what they have been inwardly thinking.

    E.g. I think this text is about sister and brother relationships. Even though our brothers or sisters can be painful and annoying, they are important family members. I think the author is trying to give that message.

  2. Saying to others: Students say their thoughts to another person. The listener has to   interpret what the speaker is saying and paraphrase the thoughts back to the speaker.

    E.g. You just told me that sometimes brothers or sisters can be very annoying but having family members is important.

  3. Saying together: This is where the listener pools their ideas with the speaker. By pooling ideas, joint understandings between group members start to form. This stage of the framework is built on the premise that multiple perspectives on the ‘reading’ of a text or concept provides greater and richer knowledge than if singularly compiled.

    E.g. I would like to add to what you said about brothers and sisters. I think you can take them for granted especially when you do not like or enjoy the same things they like to do. Like for instance, Jack likes playing outside with his friends and Rose just reads books and daydreams inside. When the brother disappears into the tunnel his sister gets worried about him and starts looking for him. That shows she really does care about him. I didn’t get why he turned into a statue though and how his sister was able to save him.

    I think Rose saves her brother because she puts her arms around him and makes him warm. What do you think? Let’s have a look at the text again.

  4. Saying the new: Through talk new ideas can generate. When parties share together, new meanings from the text are constructed that would not have developed singularly. It is these new understandings that complete the final stage of this talk framework.

    E.g. When we go back and look at the picture of Jack as a statue, we can see Rose hugging it. Rose is crying and as she is hugging the statue it slowly changes colour from grey to multi-coloured and Jack returns. He says he knew Rose would come to save him.

    Yeh, I agree. I think the author wanted to say that love conquers all. Family members especially brothers and sisters might find each other annoying but when one of them needs the other, they help each other out. Rose did that by crawling through the slimy dark tunnel when she was frightened. Sometimes you do extraordinary things for people you love because you love them. They give you the strength.

Think puzzle explore framework

This framework (Harvard Graduate School of Education) for talk is useful for inquiry learning because it connects to prior knowledge, sparks curiosity and allows planning for the exploration of the new topic. The framework consists of three key questions to promote student discussion.

For example, Level 5 and 6 inquiry topic on ‘Sleep’.

Victorian Curriculum, Science: Communicating Level 5 and 6: Communicate ideas and processes using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and to identify simple cause-and-effect relationships (VCSIS088)

What do you think you know about a topic?

This stage of the framework is completed individually. It is important to give students thinking time about the topic to be studied. Encourage individual students to write what they know about the topic on post-it notes with the understanding that they will be expected to share their ideas with others when finished.

e.g. Students all write individually on what they know about sleep. Each fact is written on a different post-it note. At this stage the topic is wide ranging including all living things and sleep.

What questions or puzzles do you have?

Students form small groups. Groups of three work well. Individual students share what they already know from their post-it notes and then together generate some questions or puzzles they may have about a topic. When first introducing this framework, a whole class sharing of what is known (including any misconceptions) and puzzles and questions can be shared. It is during the sharing that the teacher listens out for interesting questions that might lead to an effective inquiry study.

e.g. Students share their understandings about sleep and compile one large page with all known facts. It is here that the classroom teacher can easily see what prior knowledge students already bring to the topic of ‘Sleep’. This collaboration acts as a pre-test to new learning. From this initial discussion, it is hoped that questions may arise such as:

  • do all living things sleep?
  • do animals sleep?
  • why do humans sleep?
  • what happens when you sleep?
  • what would happen if humans didn’t sleep?
  • what is the longest anyone has slept for?

How can you explore this topic?

Once a question has been determined as a suitable inquiry topic, small groups can brainstorm how they intend to research and answer the question including how they might communicate their findings.

e.g. As many groups asked questions about humans and sleep, the teacher guides students to consider the importance of sleep to humans and forms the inquiry question in conjunction with the class, “Why do humans sleep?”

Small groups brainstorm how they will research and answer this question. They also consider how to communicate what information they find to explain this phenomenon.

Small groups share and through consensus, the class decides to write a brochure on sleep that will explain the cause and effect relationship for why humans need to sleep.


Chambers, A. (1994). Tell Me: Children, reading and talking. Newtown: PETAA. Primary English Teachers Association Australia.

Visible Thinking