Grand Conversations, Thoughtful Responses: Faye Brownlie on What’s New in the 2nd Edition

All kids should have the opportunity to fall in love with reading. Faye Brownlie’s acclaimed guide, Grand Conversations, Thoughtful Responses, has offered teachers a powerful set of tools for engaging young readers since its release in 2005. Now, the second edition is almost here, and it’s filled with new strategies and updated tools for today’s classrooms. We caught up with Faye to get her take on the new edition and give teachers a sneak peek at what’s inside.

Faye Brownlie on the New Edition of Grand Conversations, Thoughtful Responses

“The response over the past 15 years to the first edition of Grand Conversations, Thoughtful Responses has been overwhelming. I have been humbled and honoured by the feedback and success stories that teachers have shared, and am so pleased to present some of what we have learned together in this new edition.”

The Basics: Literature Circles

“I’ve made significant updates, but have remained true to what is unique to this approach to literature circles.

  • The groups are fluid.
  • Students have choice in what they read.
  • No roles. The Say Something strategy initiates and sustains the conversation.
  • No limits are placed on the amount read.
  • No leveled texts.
  • Responses to text are open-ended and reflective.
  • Formative assessment strategies are infused with the goal of creating readers who read.

This empowers kids to exceed expectations, foster curiosity, and develop better critical thinking and discussion skills.”

What’s New?

“Teachers can also expect much brand-new content. Here’s a sampling of what’s inside:

  • Michelle Hikida and Lisa Schwartz show us how to create communities of readers with literature circles in grades 1-3.
  • Lindsay Holliday shares her grade 6/7 readers ‘I can’ statements, created to support powerful response writing, and then extends this as they are guided by their co-constructed  ‘good, better, wow’ examples.
  • At Highland Park, the 4/5 team and I strengthen response writing with a modeling sequence that begins with an exploded sentence and students critiquing our writing.
  • Neetu Dhaliwal capitalizes on the power of social media and uses Snapcha
    t to create thoughtful, engaged discussion around student-selected quotes with grades 8-12.
  • The Kamloops Literacy Team presents a step-by-step, non-fiction version of literature circles called “inquiry circles.”


There are so many more exciting ideas—for self-assessment, personal reflection, and more integrated summative assessment! Read on, find a colleague (because it’s just richer and more fun to be collaborative), and find an idea that sparks your curiosity and is waiting to be personalized, by you, for your students.”

The second edition of Grand Conversations, Thoughtful Responses will be released on October 24th. Pre-order your copy today.

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