What’s your go-to conversation continuer?

When I’m listening to someone tell a story, one of my favorite things to throw into the conversation is, “Tell me more about that.”

It’s easy, open-ended and doesn’t kill the storyteller’s vibe.

This is especially great with kids because they make surprising leaps when given the right amount of latitude in their responses. As listeners and readers, we often want to ask specific questions—“What color was his car?”—and run the risk of getting plain answers—“His car was black.”

You open the door to a bigger room when you say, “Tell me more about his car.”

This is important because your second workshop is all about helping your DeepKids expand their ideas with telling details. Be mindful of how you prompt them to keep going.

With that, a quick, relevant, slightly funny anecdote:

One of my DeepKids last semester wrote a story about a girl who was being mean to her at school. At one point she used the comparison “mean as green.” I found this very interesting—more so than if she’d written “mean as a pitbull” or “mean as a shark” or mean as any other animal that’s widely considered aggressive—so I asked the student to tell me more about it.

Her response killed me.

“Mean as green,” she said, “Which I don’t like because it reminds me of my pet turtle that’s about to die because my mom only feeds it raw fish.”

Classic.

Now, I’m not saying you should only prompt your DeepKids with broad questions or that “tell me more” should be your bread and butter. Sometimes this won’t work and you’ll need to use more specific sub-prompts to keep their pencils moving. The key there is to be sure to only ask thoughtful questions. How else can you demand thoughtful answers?

How do you prefer keeping conversations moving? When telling stories, what types of questions keep you writing or talking? How do you draft thoughtful sub-prompts?

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2 thoughts on “What’s your go-to conversation continuer?

  1. Love this post. My go-to convo continuer with my DeepKids is the classic “Why?”. And when they say they “Idunno,” I’m right back at ’em with “Well, that’s okay, but what do you think?”. But I really like yours, Kolby, because it’s more directive. Next time, I’m going to try saying “Tell me more about that” and see what happens. 🙂

    • Jo, my go-to is “Why”, as well. I feel like the Why-Lady sometimes, but it gets my kids to write and question and explore. I also love the interrogative 5Ws & H words.
      “Then I went to my mom’s house.”
      “Where is that?”
      “Sarasota.”
      “What’s it like there?”
      “Hot.”
      “Hot like what?”
      What I like about “Tell me more about that” is that it’s more open-ended, and would definitely fit easily into my line of questioning. 🙂

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