New Professional Title Boosts Oral Language to Set the Stage for Reading

Langley Leverett  //  Feb 22, 2024

New Professional Title Boosts Oral Language to Set the Stage for Reading

Literacy experts Dr. Tricia A. Zucker and Dr. Sonia Q. Cabell bring over 40 years of combined educational experience to their new book, Strive for Five Conversations: A Framework That Gets Kids Talking to Accelerate Their Language Comprehension and Literacy.

The latest in Scholastic Professional’s Science of Reading in Practice series, Zucker and Cabell offer a power tool aligned with the science of reading: the “Strive-for-Five” framework. Educators know that encouraging young children to talk and listen improves their ability to communicate. In an accessible format that contains video clips, the book shares important tips, techniques, classroom anecdotes, and activities that teachers can use to have responsive conversations over five turns with the goal of stretching their students’ talking and thinking, knowledge, vocabulary, reasoning, and other skills that underpin reading success. As teachers use the framework to engage children and develop their language comprehension, they'll also see students’ confidence grow as they share their individual stories, ideas, and questions.

Susan B. Numan, Professor, Childhood Education and Literacy Development, New York University writes in the forward: “Zucker and Cabell argue convincingly that as children’s language expands through conversation, their knowledge does as well. Words are the tip of the iceberg; underlying those words are concepts. As they learn words, children simultaneously acquire, develop, and refine concepts that those words represent. And it is here where you play a crucial role in the learning process. As this book makes clear, what you do to support conversations has enormous consequences on children’s language development, knowledge of their world, and self-confidence in the learning process.”

The Strive-for Five framework is designed to accelerate young children’s language and literacy development. These conversations expand over the course of five turns, helping to develop background knowledge, vocabulary, reasoning, and other language comprehension skills that will lead to reading proficiency. Within this research-based title, educators will discover:

  • Easy modifications to teacher-student conversations that will boost language skills

  • Strategies that can be integrated with any literacy curriculum to provide a stronger foundation for kids

  • Classroom video clips and downloadable tools to help teachers put Strive-for-Fve conversations into practice throughout the school day

To learn more about Strive for Five Conversations, click here, and be sure to follow @ScholasticEdu on X (formerly known as Twitter).


Tricia Zucker, Ph.D., is a former early childhood teacher, and a Professor of Pediatrics and Co-Director of the Children’s Learning Institute at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr. Zucker’s research focuses on early literacy and language development for children experiencing learning difficulties.

Sonia Cabell, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Reading Education at Florida State University. A former second-grade teacher and literacy coach, Dr. Cabell’s research focuses on early literacy instruction. She has served as an advisor for a variety of national organizations and state departments of education.