Dialogic Book Talk



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Dialogic Book Talk


Book Title: Hugless Douglas by David Melling

Learning and Development

Creating the language learning environment.

Why? To acknowledge and extend children’s experiences and develop their vocabulary


A Unique child

Who is valued and listened to:



  • Contributes to discussion

  • Relates the story content to their own experiences

  • Develops their own ideas

  • Initiates conversation with adults and children




Positive Relationships

That build and support communication by:



  • Sharing experiences

  • Gaining insight into the feelings of others

  • Learning to interpret the behaviours of others

  • Listening to and empathising with others developing the ability to converse with peers and adults

Enabling Environments

1. Prepare

Choose a picture book that will appeal to the group of children. If you want to read the whole story, make sure the written text is brief. The main objective is to get the children talking and having conversations with you and each other.



  • Make sure you are very familiar with the story
  • Think about the kinds of prompts and questions you will use to think and talk about the story.


  • Remember the golden rules: ask open-ended questions: recast and expand what children say.

  • Before you start, ensure you have thought about: the ways in which children might be able to relate the story to their own lives: the new vocabulary that you will introduce in reading and talking about the story: follow-up experiences and activities to consolidate this vocabulary.

2. Story prompts- including open-ended questions and enabling statements

A young bear called Douglas needed a hug and began searching for one, but none were quite right until he found the one he was looking for in the arms of his Mum!

Prompts and open-ended questions might include:


  • How do you think Douglas was feeling when he woke up?

  • I wonder why Douglas needed a hug when he woke up?

  • I wonder why the snowball didn’t feel quite right to Douglas when he hugged it?

  • I wonder why the leaves on the bush quivered and trembled?

  • I wonder why the sheep said they were ‘too busy’ to give Douglas a hug?

  • I wonder why the sheep didn’t like Douglas giving them a hug?

  • What kind of bear do you think Douglas is?

  • Why do you think Douglas wiped his nose on the rabbit’s tail?

3. Relate the story to the children’s experiences

Prompts might include:



  • How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?

  • Do you ever feel you need a hug?

  • Where or who might you go to if you need a hug?

  • How do you think Douglas felt when no one would give him a hug?

  • How do you think Douglas felt when his Mum gave him a hug?

4. Extend the children’s vocabulary

Focus on some of the vocabulary introduced in the book and discussion:



  • Nouns - cave, splinters. Verbs – wriggled, grunted, quivered, trembled, squirmed, scrambled, snuggled, sniffed. Adjectives – comfy, fluffy.

  • Also explore children’s understanding of words like ‘tall’, ‘high’.

5. Design follow-up experiences/activities to consolidate new vocabulary

Consolidate understanding and use some of the vocabulary introduced in the book:



  • Den building –make a ‘comfy cave’ for a bear to live in.

  • Make a collection of objects made of wood for the children to explore how they feel –talk about ‘splinters’.

  • Make a treasure basket of fluffy objects for the children to explore.

  • Make a display of stories and non-fiction books about bears alongside a collection of toy bears.

  • Create a small world scenario in a tough spot for the children to retell the story. Laminate the verbs for the children to include in their retelling of the story.

  • Talk to the children and show them pictures of things which are tall or high i.e. giraffes, sky scrapers, towers, trees, lamp posts etc. Let the children practice walking ‘tall’ on tip toes.






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