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Engaging conversation refers to a verbal interchange between two or more people on a shared topic that holds the interest and attention of participants. Children are introduced to this communicative form through interactions with others in their social worlds, often starting with adults, but also with peers and siblings. This entry reviews the research on the nature of engaging conversations in the home and school contexts, considers the implications of children’s home experiences for their school success, and identifies the ways in which schools can use conversations to further educational aims.

Conversations are characterized by the relatively equitable exchange of thoughts, opinions, and questions on a particular topic through organized turn-taking. While both participants actively shape the direction of the conversation, each comment is related in ...

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