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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 2 INTRODUCTION Maybe you hope that by the end of the school year, you will witness growth in your students’ vocabulary and ability to share information and express ideas. In order to bring these hopes and expectations to reality, you can use instruc- tional conversation approaches to create a high-quality language-learning envi- ronment in your classroom. Using an instructional conversation approach means talking to children with specific learning objectives in mind. It also means inten- tionally planning opportunities for children to talk with their peers during small- group learning activities. The Conversation Compass is a unique instructional conversation approach that teachers can use to foster high-quality language learn- ing environments in preschool classrooms. With support from teachers, young children are capable of having mean- ingful classroom conversations that foster their social-emotional and academic development. For instance, classroom conversations provide opportunities for children to build their social-emotional reasoning skills by talking about their feelings, ideas, opinions, memories, and personal experiences. Conversations are especially important for children’s academic growth. Conversations about literacy topics provide opportunities for children to talk about and understand vocabu- lary and printed text, as well as to understand the motives, thoughts, and feelings of characters in stories. Classroom conversations also build children’s math and sciences skills by providing opportunities for young children to evaluate events, make predictions, and solve problems. What Is the Conversation Compass? The Conversation Compass is a conversation-based instructional approach designed to build children’s critical thinking, problem solving, social reasoning, and language skills. The suggestions and ideas for this approach are based on a wide body of research about language and cognitive development, early literacy, children’s storytelling, family cultural practices, and classroom dialogue. The approach is intended to foster language and school readiness skills in all children, especially ethnic minority children who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), and who may speak a home language that is different from the formal, academic English that is taught in school. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL