Thursday, July 12, 2012

Planning for Close Reading

The common core standards have promoted the idea of close reading; essentially a more text-centered approach to guiding students' reading comprehension. I recently made some presentations where I showed teachers how to plan an elementary level close reading lesson. The attached Powerpoint shows my thinking on that.

One problem with this posting is that I had to omit the story that I used. I had inserted a children's book and then showed the questions or discussion starters that I would provide. However, the children's book is copyrighted and I don't have permission to share that so I just included the text title and my questions. If you are really curious you can chase down a copy of the story and match it up.

In close reading it is common to stress the idea of taking students through a text multiple times. To make up this lesson, I went through it multiple times, making up different questions for each reading. I found that making up different kinds of questions on each reading was a good discipline for me as a teacher, and perhaps you would find the same thing.

For a first reading, you want to ask questions that ensure that the students understand and think about the major ideas in the story or article. That means you limit your questions to big ideas or you query information that you think the students might be confused by. 

On the second reading, you want to ask questions that require students to analyze how the text works: why the author made certain choices and what the implications of those decisions would be in terms of meaning or tone.

On the third reading, the issue is how does this text connect to your life and your views, critical analysis of quality and value, and how the text connects to other texts. 

Hope you find it useful.


Barbara Gilbert said...

Great power point summary. Thank you. I'll be using select slides with teachers in grades 3-5.

Carpenter Family Chronicle said...

I have been using your close read format for a couple of month now in my first and second grade classroom and have found it to be very helpful. My students are really being thoughtful about text and I don't feel like I am rushing from story to story. Students are really starting to make connections between characters and books on their own- meaningful ones, and they are noticing author's craft elements on their own. We are having real conversations about books in first and second grade! Thank you so much.

Monika D said...

Thank you for this information. As my school district transitions to Common Core, the term close reading continues to be brought up with no clear understanding of what it really is or what it consists of. I recently went to a training that gave me a clear understanding. Your post along with your PowerPoint is also another clear tool that I plan to use as a personal resource. Your PowerPoint gives a clear picture as to what close reading should look like in that classroom. I can now map out how I want my students to close read and make connections. I believe that through close reading, we can have great classroom discussions. Thank you very much for this useful tool. My only concern with close reading is how my struggling readers can make the connections with the more complex text.

kdf100365 said...

As a principal, I want my teachers to teach student how to read a text closely. After going through your Powerpoint, reading the questions you suggest and the responses, I think professional development in developing questions would be required to ensure they were actually asking the right kind of questions. On the other hand, I'm not sure, given limited planning time and the various demands on that time, that teachers can read/reread and develop these questions. Are you aware of any instructional resources available for teachers that have identified appropriate text and questions for close reading? I feel they need a starting point, a place to begin, or they will feel overwhelmed.

Tim Shanahan said...

Try the School Achievement Partners website.

Tim Shanahan said...

Try the School Achievement Partners website.