Examining the effects of quality talk discussions on 4th- and 5th-grade students’ high-level comprehension of text

P. Karen Murphy, Jeffrey A. Greene, Carla M. Firetto, Rachel M. V. Croninger, Rebekah F. Duke, Mengyi Li, Nikki G. Lobczowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the rapid pace of technological change, access to unlimited information, and diverse forms of complex text, the importance and demand for enhanced literacy skills is greater than ever. Accordingly, researchers have begun developing integrated, multifaceted interventions that dynamically support enhanced literacy competence. The purpose of this year-long quasi-experimental study was to compare the effects of a multifaceted, rigorous discussion intensive literacy intervention called Quality Talk (QT) to a comparison intervention. Fourth- and fifth-grade students (QT treatment, n = 133; comparison, n = 155) from two public schools participated in a district-wide literacy program with half also participating in QT within their language arts class. Spanning baseline and two subsequent time points, findings revealed that, on average, students evidenced statistically significant increases on one form of basic-level comprehension performance over time with no statistically significant difference between QT and comparison classrooms. Given that treatment and comparison classrooms engaged in a district-wide literacy initiative with supplemental daily literacy instruction, these results are not altogether unexpected. However, despite the enhanced literacy instruction across all classes, from Time 2 to Time 3, growth in QT students’ high-level comprehension, as measured via written argumentation essay performance, was statistically significantly greater than their comparison peers’ growth. This study informs the future of education research and practice regarding the feasibility and utility of relevant and rigorous multifaceted literacy interventions focused upon small-group discussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102099
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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