Because some students confuse recitation—exchanges used by teachers to assess learning—with discussion, you may wish to probe the understandings of your class. The Attitude Survey (PDF) included in this program can help you do so.
Choose a book to read aloud that will engage your students. Read, stopping at an emotionally charged moment. Ask them to respond in writing to what they have heard. After they have had several minutes to write, invite them to share their thoughts, first with a partner and then with the whole class. After the first student has shared, ask, "Does anyone have something that connects to what X has just said?" When you feel the conversation has run its course, stop and ask students to reflect on the discussion and the effect(s) of making connections to earlier comments. Suggest that they take this strategy to their small-group discussions.