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WT 280 Learning to Interview

Teacher Tips and Answers


WT 280

Page 280

Learning to Interview

People are amazing. Some can fly planes. Others can write songs. Others still can raise cows or wire a house or ride a unicycle! How do they do it?

Ask them! You’ll hear wonderful stories about fighting fires or directing choirs or help a dog deliver puppies. You can write down answers and write articles about those amazing people!

Girl Doing Phone Interview
© Thoughtful Learning 2025

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What Is an Interview?

An interview is a special kind of conversation. You ask questions, and the other person answers them. You can use the answers in reports, news stories, or speeches. This chapter helps you interview amazing people.

Before the Interview

Decide what you want to learn.
    🟪 What person do you want to interview? Why?
    🟪 What do you want to know? What will others want to know? What wonderful details could you discover?
    🟪 Write down questions that you can ask.
    🟪 Ask who, what, where, when, why, and how questions.
    🟪 Ask questions that require big answers, not just “yes” or “no.”

Set up your interview.
    🟪 Call, text, or email the person to ask for an interview.
    🟪 Tell the person what you want to find out and why.
    🟪 Indicate the project you are working on.
    🟪 Set a time and place to meet, talk on the phone, or have a video call. Or you can interview by email.

Gather your materials.
    🟪 Bring your list of questions.
    🟪 Sharpen two or three pencils.
    🟪 Bring a notebook.
    🟪 Use a recording device (if you want audio or video).

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During the Interview

Start strong.
    🟪 Introduce yourself.
    🟪 Say what your want to know and why.
    🟪 If you have a recording device, ask if you may use it.

Ask your questions.
    🟪 Be sure your questions are clear and ask for details.
    🟪 Focus on big questions: what, why, and how.
    🟪 Ask follow-up questions to learn more.

Listen carefully and take notes.
    🟪 Write down the key ideas and details.
    🟪 When you take notes, politely say, “I want to write that down.” The person will pause to give you time.
    🟪 Ask the person to spell names and new words.
    🟪 Read back answers you want to quote word for word.

After the Interview

Read your notes.
    🟪 Add any details that come to mind.
    🟪 If you used a recording device, review the recording.

Share what you learned.
    🟪 Write a report or news story, or give a short talk about your interview.
    🟪 Use exact quotes when the person has said something really interesting.

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An Interview in Action

Interview Card
© Thoughtful Learning 2025

Sample Report from an Interview


Who’s your favorite singer-songwriter? Mine is my Uncle Dave. He wrote his first song when he was just 10 years old.

“I was learning trombone in 5th grade band, and I liked using the slide,” Uncle Dave said. “Mom said we could write a song together.”

Afterward, he learned piano and has written 50 more songs. He sings and plays. His most recent song, “Love Your Life” has a video with 50,000 views.

I asked Uncle Dave how I could become a songwriter. He said, “Let’s write a song together.” We did. It’s called “Sing Together”!

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