The Most Reasonable Answer

The Most Reasonable Answer Helping Students Build Better Arguments Together

Alina Reznitskaya and Ian A. G. Wilkinson, Foreword by Catherine E. Snow
paper, 224 Pages
Pub. Date: November 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-121-1
Price: $32.00

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The Most Reasonable Answer is an innovative and comprehensive guide to engaging students in inquiry dialogue—a type of talk used in text-based classroom discussions. During inquiry dialogue, students collectively search for the most reasonable answers to big, controversial questions, and, as a result, enhance their argumentation skills and develop a deep understanding of the texts they read. Based on years of research and work in nearly fifty classrooms, this book is an essential resource for educators looking for new ways to teach critical thinking and engage students in high-quality discourse. 


Finally, a resource that can help elementary teachers engage students in deep, meaningful discussions about the texts they read! This book is a fabulous resource to help educators understand the essential concepts of argument literacy, and to plan and conduct classroom discussions—a skill that will help students meet the most rigorous standards. — Amy Pacifico, fifth-grade teacher, West Orange School District, New Jersey

Reznitskaya and Wilkinson illuminate the idea of argumentation as a way to help all students think critically, engage with one another’s ideas around complex issues, and learn how to learn. The authors translate research and theory into an accessible vision of discourse-rich dialogic classroom environments, relevant to any subject matter. They provide practices, tools, and richly detailed examples that can help make student-led argument a core element of any curriculum. — Mark Windschitl, professor of science education, University of Washington

With strong conceptual grounding in argumentation theory, rich research-based examples of teachers facilitating inquiry dialogues, and practical tools for building elementary students’ argument literacy through collaborative classroom talk, The Most Reasonable Answer is a tremendous resource for elementary and middle school teachers, literacy coaches, and literacy teacher educators. I am now awaiting the secondary-level installment! — Mary M. Juzwik, professor, departments of teacher Education and English, Michigan State University

The book is pedagogically sound and ready to be used as a tool, not just as a book to read and put on a shelf. Additionally, it promotes professional development that closely resembles action research, one of the best ways for teachers to think about their own teaching and make adjustments based on findings. — Emily Reeves, Teachers College Record

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About the Authors

Alina Reznitskaya is a professor in the Department of Educational Foundations at Montclair State University. She has acquired expertise in educational psychology, quantitative research methodology, and psycho-educational measurement, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on these topics. Dr. Reznitskaya conducts research on the role social interaction plays in the development of students’ argumentation skills. She also designs and evaluates professional development programs that support teachers in their use of classroom talk to promote student learning. Dr. Reznitskaya’s work has appeared in a variety of journals and edited books, including Educational Psychologist, The Reading Teacher, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Cambridge Journal of Education, Elementary School Journal, Discourse Processes, Comprehension Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices, and Positive Psychology in Practice.

Ian A. G. Wilkinson is a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. He has a background in educational psychology and research interests in cognition, instruction, and research methodology related to the study of literacy. Originally from Australia, Dr. Wilkinson has lectured and conducted research in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Dr. Wilkinson teaches courses on literacy learning and teaching, and conducts research on the impact of classroom talk on students’ reading comprehension and the implications for professional development of teachers. He served as co-editor of Reading Research Quarterly from 2006 to 2012. His work has appeared in publications such as Reading Research Quarterly, British Journal of Educational Psychology, American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Educational Psychology, The Elementary School Journal, Reading Psychology, The Reading Teacher, Learning and Instruction, Teaching and Teacher Education, the Handbook of Reading Research, the Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction, and the Handbook of Educational Psychology.

Over the past several years, Drs. Reznitskaya and Wilkinson have worked with elementary school teachers to help them learn how to conduct classroom discussions that engage students in collaborative and rigorous argumentation. The research was sponsored by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education, with Drs. Reznitskaya and Wilkinson serving as coprincipal investigators.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Catherine E. Snow


Blog Post: "Teaching Students How to Think and Argue Together"

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