BAP020 Nancy Motley Breaks Down Talk, Read, Talk, Write

“If we want our students to read and write rigorous English, we need to give them opportunities to read and write rigorous English.”Nancy Motley during her Keynote at the VirtuEL17 conference.

But how?? Nancy is my guest this week on the podcast and she is here to talk about her popular  book, Talk, Read, Talk, Write.  You can listen to the show right here. 

Nancy was an award winning secondary teacher and now a consultant for Seidlitz Education.  She has developed a variety of professional development resources and is a highly sought after consultant.

In this show she explains how she developed the TRTW routine and we talk about how this method of teaching can help your language learners gain literacy and participate meaningfully in every content area.  

Nancy breaks down the routine and explains the purpose for each of the steps.  She also gives us great tips for helping students grow in how they collaborate with one another.  Here are a few gems from the show!  These are some great quotes that were tweeted out when Nancy was speaking!


We want every single child to be able to engage in this conversation regardless of their academic background.”  Nancy shares her #1 avenue for this in the show.


“Student need to be reading to learn vs. listening to me to learn…”

During a the Read component, we may say “Your purpose  for reading this is…”

“Text can look a lot of different ways.  Lately I’ve been suggesting that teachers consider student notes as text.”   They can be reading their notes for purpose in the Read component.


Are we asking dialog worthy questions?  “We need very specific discussion questions before I move students to check-in conversations.”  Nancy tells us that we want questions that are “… open ended but text dependent.”   This second talk is about offering opportunities for students to speak to their peers to process what they have read.

**BONUS: Nancy offers some additional ideas about growing our students in how they talk with each other.


The final component is when our students will be writing about their learning.  Motley acknowledges that this will, of course make our students better writers, but there is more payoff when students reflect in writing.  Whether this is completing a sentence stem or writing a paragraph, it is “…an opportunity for the student and the teacher to see where they are at with the learning.”  It also allows “…students to be  with and among the content longer.”

WOW!  I would really encourage you to listen to the show if you are only reading this post.  Nancy’s passion and the way she explains all of this in more detail is certainly worth our time.

If you’d like to see even more about the routine, check out this youtube video where she explains #TRTW during her keynote speech at the VirtuEl conference:

This routine and her book are incredibly popular.  You can purchase the book at or on amazon.  If you get the book, you may be interested in checking out the #ELLCHAT_BKCLUB book study questions.  Thanks to Dr. Katie Toppel, all of the questions from the book study are available online at this site:

To supplement your study of this book or this routine, we have another video of Nancy as well.  In this Live Google Hangout, she plugs in with teachers who are reading the book in the chat.  Just like every time we hear from Nancy, there are new take-aways for us to consider.  Thanks to Tan Huynh for hosting this hangout.  He advises that you start watching at the 5:50 mark.

I’m so happy to have had Nancy on the show.    I’m grateful that she keeps taking time out of her schedule to collaborate with our PLN and for everything I have learned from her.

And I’m grateful for you too.  Thank you for listening and please reach out if you have any questions or comments about the show!

Have a great day and know that you are awesome!


PS: Would you like more support?  To book me to come work with you and your staff, just reach out to me or Kathy Belanger:

PSS: Are you presenting at #MADPD??  Check out this request for presenters and know that your proposal WILL get accepted.  We should all be presenting at this “Make A Difference PD” online conference in May.  Stay tuned for a show all about this in a few weeks.

In the near future I will be presenting at the NABE conference,  as well as the ISTE conference and I’m a proud spotlight speaker at the Abydos writing conference.  I’m attending SXSW as well so please reach out if you’ll be at any of these!

You can also join me for two upcoming workshops in Texas.  The information for those is below.  We’d love to see you!

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